South Asia

Pope calls for ‘truth-seeking process’

Pope Francis is greeted as he arrives at the Colombo airport on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: STEFANO RELLANDINI

Pope Francis called for the pursuit of truth and respect for human rights in Sri Lanka, as he began his two-nation Asia tour in Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

In an apparent reference to the country’s post-war context, the Pope said it was no easy task to overcome the bitter legacy of injustices, hostility and mistrust left by the conflict.

Promoting justice

It can only be done by overcoming evil with good and by cultivating those virtues which foster reconciliation, solidarity and peace, said the religious leader.

“The process of healing also needs to include the pursuit of truth, not for the sake of opening old wounds, but rather as a necessary means of promoting justice, healing and unity,” he said.

Watch video: Pope lands in Sri Lanka

The Pope’s arrival coincides with a new government formation in the island, following the January 8 presidential polls in which incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa was defeated by President Maithripala Sirisena, formerly a member of Mr. Rajapaksa’s Cabinet.

Welcoming the Pope, President Sirsiena said: “Your holiness, my government is promoting peace and friendship among our people after overcoming a cruel terrorism conflict.” The Pope will hold a mass at Colombo’s sea-facing Galle Face Green on Wednesday, besides a visit to the famous Madhu church in Mannar, in the island’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, which has a sizeable Catholic population.

News agency AFP reported that only around six per cent of Sri Lanka’s 20-million-strong population is Catholic, but the religion is seen as a unifying force as it includes people from both the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil ethnic groups.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 6:35:45 AM |

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