Catholic Church in Sri Lanka:
Working for the common good of all
In the past the Western powers ruled
countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America by the power of the gun.
Today they adopt various devices like globalisation, IMF, NGOs,
multi-national companies consumerism and cultural invasion to keep the
third world countries under their subjugation. The whole process
interned as ‘Re-colonisation’ and they use Christianity too for their
In Europe most of the people are nominal Christian. The churches are
empty even on Sundays and it seems only about 10 percent in Europe
practice the religion. Nevertheless, the Europeans spend lavishly
convert people in the third world to Christianity because it is part of
recolonisation. In the past Korea was predominantly a Buddhist country.
But now there is a Christian majority there as a result of such tactics.
Fr Marcelline Jayakody
Born : June 3,
1902 at Dankotuwa
Ordained as priest on : December 20, 1927
Well-known Catholic priest and household name
Musician, poet, lyricist, author, journalist
Composed hymns set to his own music
They were simple and close to people
Order: Missionaries of Charity
Born: August 26, 1910 - Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu
Died: September 5, 1997 (aged 87) Calcutta, India
In this process the Fundamental Christian sects offer money and other
inducements for conversions. Although it cannot be alleged that the
Catholic Church adopts such dubious means it employs various other
The present position of the Catholic Church is that those of other
faiths and even with no faith could attain salvation if they lead a
righteous life according to their conscience.
Fifty questions about Catholicism’s published by St Paul’s in Mumbai
(1998) - page 135.
At the same time, the Catholic Church spends large sums for
evangelisation and it has a design to convert people in Asia to
Christianity as the Catholic faith is not so prevalent in the region. In
the process it emphasises dialogue with other religions.
It is revealed in the book Catholic Plot Against Buddhism published
in Thailand as disclosed in the review of it by S Dhammika Thera of
Australia published in February 2006 of Dhamsara issue, the methods
adopted by some Catholic circles to make in-roads into Buddhism.
The Catholic clergy getting to learn Buddhism even better than
Buddhist Bhikkhus, equating God to the Buddhist concept of Dhamma,
giving a Catholic outlook Buddhist meditation and a Catholic colouring
to national festivals are some of them.
We find that similar tactics are being adopted by the Catholic clergy
in Sri Lanka as well. There are some Catholic priests who master
Buddhism and preach that Buddhism and Christianity are parallel
religions. It is in this direction that once a Catholic priest expressed
that at one time the Buddha was a Catholic Saint called St Joasapat.
There are others who introduce Buddhist rituals to Catholic Churches
at festivals like Vesak. There are some Catholic priests who want to
celebrate Easter and New Year together to transform New Year as a
Catholic festival. There are also some Catholic priests who want to
distort the Catholic faith to come to terms with Buddhists. Once a
Catholic priest challenged the dogma of the immaculate conception of the
Blessed Virgin Mary.
It is true that people of different faiths could get together for the
common good of all. This should be done while maintaining their
religious identity. Distorting religions, mixing them to make a
hotchpotch would lead to the destruction of all the religions. Today you
find Some Maha Sangha who had been vociferous about the degradation of
our spiritual and cultural values a defenced by drawing them to various
religious alliances and multi-religious forums.
On the other hand you find among Catholics too like other Christian
sects healing services based on hypnotism, services with high spirited
noisy music and reflections of statues on walls to attract people. At
one time Catholics flocked in the thousands to Kudagama for miraculous
healings. But now the place is deserted. Falsehood cannot last long.
The Catholic Church today seems to be quite different from the
institutions set up by Christ. The ecclesiastical pomp and ceremony,
majesty and splendour are incompatible with the teachings of Christ, the
simple Gallilean. The Church lasts today not because of the hierarchy
who lead luxurious lives but because of the clergy and religious minded
like Mother Teresa, who adhere to the vows of poverty and chastity and
devoted their lives for the cause of the poor, helpless and the
suffering and indomitable faith of the laymen.
However there are some Catholic priests in Sri Lanka who have stood
for the Truth. Fr Marcelline Jayakody was such a sincere priest. He was
so close to the Buddhist temple and Buddhist Bhikkhus, he was called the
Pansale Piyatuma (The Catholic Priest of the Buddhist Temple). Yet he
never used his good offices to convert Buddhists to Christianity. He
wished that Buddhists remain good and better Buddhists. It is clear from
this verse found in the Poem ‘Vehera’ in his award winning work Muthu.
On the other hand Fr Marcelline Jayakody never betrayed Christianity.
He never approved performing Buddhist rituals in Catholic churches.
In his columns at one time in the Catholic Messenger he denounced mixing
religious traditions saying “There are some Catholics today who want to
be more Buddhist and Hindu than Buddhists and Hindus themselves.” Fr
Joseph E Fernando S J who has presented the celebrated book ‘The
Catholic Church in Sri Lanka - Reflections’ is another who has
truthfully analyzed the present position of the Catholic Church in our
country. He reveals that the Church leadership both clergy and laity is
still in the hands of the English educated elite who in their thinking
and lifestyle practices a bourgeoisie Christianity. He identifies
Western liberal Christianity as a cancer that kills an intimate
relationship with Christ and subtle temptation that misdirects the
believer away from God.
Fr Joseph E Fernando further expresses that bourgeoisie Christianity
is based on the values and lifestyles not in keeping with the
spirituality found in the Gospel. He emphasises that we have to repent
for our bourgeoisie Christianity and be converted. He adds that it is
therefore left to us to choose between bourgeoisie Christianity and is
preached by Christ.
Although the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka talks about a Church opting
for the poor, it maintains its reactionary policies. Many Catholic
priests work in collaboration with NGOs that have been set up with
hidden agendas to foster capitalism. The reactionary concepts of the
Catholic Church are well manifested in its educational policy.
After take over of schools the Catholic Church was allowed to have
non-fee-levying schools and it is illegal to charge students on
admission in the form of donations. When Fr W L A Don Peter was the
Rector of St. Joseph’s College he never resorted to so-called
‘donations’ to get large sums on admissions. In 1979, the J R
Jayewardene Government provided teachers salaries, pensions and other
benefits for non-fee-levying schools. Still large sums of monies are
levied on admission of students to these schools.
To be continued