Pope urges Sri Lankan authorities to shed light on the attacks ‘for the love of your people’

Francis met some survivors of the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, currently in pilgrimage in Rome together with Card Ranjith and Sri Lankans living in Italy. “May the present difficulties be solved through everyone’s commitment and cooperation,” the pope said speaking about the country’s deep economic and social crises.


Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis met with some survivors and relatives of people who died in the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks. Almost 300 people were killed by suicide bombers who targeted a number of churches and hotels.

In his address, the pontiff said: “Please, for the love of justice and your people, those responsible for these events should be finally identified. This will bring peace to your conscience and country.”

Card Malcolm Ranjith accompanied the group of Sri Lankans. Along with thousands of Sri Lankans living in Italy, they came on this pilgrimage to Rome’s St Peter's Basilica to mark the third anniversary of the tragic event.

Francis met them at the end of the Mass that Card. Ranjith led at the altar of Confession in the Vatican Basilica.

“Today you have offered the Eucharistic sacrifice in memory for the victims of those terrible attacks,” he said. Likewise, “you have prayed for those injured [. . .] and for their families, as well as the people of Sri Lanka as a whole. I join you in prayer with all my heart.”

The pope urged Sri Lankan Catholics to look also at this painful page in light of the Paschal mystery and the greeting that the Risen Jesus addressed to his disciples: ‘Peace be upon you’.

“He took upon himself not only death but also the cruelty of evil, hatred, fratricidal violence,” the pope said. “His Cross and Resurrection are a light of hope in the thickest darkness. Let us pray today for all the victims of violence, war, and especially terrorism.”

Francis, who visited Sri Lanka in 2015, also urged everyone to pray for the country at a time of extreme economic and social crises.

“Let us pray for the authorities, for those who have social and educational responsibilities, and for the people as a whole. May the present difficulties be solved through everyone’s commitment and cooperation.

“Let us pray for the Church in Sri Lanka: May she be filled with the Holy Spirit through the intercession of Mary Most Holy and joyfully announce the Gospel of Christ the Saviour.”

In an interview with Vatican News, Card Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, also spoke about the situation in the country.

"The government is ignoring the wave of protest,” he explained. The latter comes “with demands of justice for the Easter Sunday attacks.

“Many people suspect that a plot to win votes was behind them, aimed at causing terror in the country and driving a wedge between two communities – Christians and Muslims – to get to power.”