Message modified by board administrator 12/7/2012, 11:04 am
ACN News: Monday, 9th July 2012 – SRI LANKA
“We have peace, but we must do more for reconciliation” – Sri Lankan bishop
By Reinhard Backes
“More must be done for reconciliation in Sri Lanka. All of the parties concerned should take part in the peace process.” With these words the Bishop of Kurunegala in Sri Lanka, Harold Anthony Perera, asked all of the parties involved to show more commitment to ensure lasting peace. During a visit to the HQ’s of the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Bishop Perera stressed that the Catholic Church is able to play a special role there as Catholics can be found among the country’s two large ethnic groups, the Sinhalese and Tamils.
The background to this appeal is that the civil war which persisted since 1983 between the government in Colombo and the “Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam” (LTTE) in the north of Sri Lanka, who aimed to establish their own state, finally came to an end three years ago. According to estimates, more than 100,000 people fell victim to the conflict. However, there are no reliable figures. The conflicting parties, the Sinhalese and Tamils, differ from one another in terms of origin, language and culture. Moreover, they also differ when it comes to religious belief – while the Sinhalese are predominantly Buddhists, the Tamils are above all Hindus.
(Bishop of Kurunegala in Sri Lanka, Harold Anthony Perera)
Approximately 1.5 million of the roughly 20 million people of Sri Lanka belong to the Catholic Church, which is highly respected because of its numerous social charity initiatives. Approximately 52,000 faithful live in the diocese of Kurunegala, which was established 25 years ago in the northwest province of the country. Bishop Perera has been responsible for the diocese since 2009. After the Tsunami disaster in 2004, the 61 year old Bishop, who in his role as the president Caritas Sri Lanka, was instrumental in the reconstruction efforts in the west of the island state of the country. The destruction following the seaquake in the gulf of Bengal was colossal, but the willingness to help was enormous. At that time assistance from Caritas was provided to everyone, regardless of origin or religion.
Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 162 languages and 48 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
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