By Chandani Kirinde
Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that the country needs strong political leaders who work courageously for the good of the country and its people and those who love the country more than they love themselves.
“The country needs honest political leaders who have a backbone, who do no wrong deeds and who do not safeguard those who do wrong deeds and take steps to punish those among them who do wrong. It is the duty of political leaders to do their duty to create a just society,” the Cardinal said at the service held at the St. Anthony’s Shrine at Kochchikade.
54 persons were killed and many other injured in the suicide bomb attack at the Church which also caused extensive damage to the building. Restoration work on the Church was carried out by personnel of the Sri Lanka Navy and it opened its doors yesterday.
Cardinal Ranjith said that many people in Sri Lanka are living in confusion in the aftermath of the attacks and are wondering if the country will be able to overcome this situation. “Many are questioning if we can trust our leaders to do what is right,” he said.
He said the country needs political leaders who love the people more than they love themselves, who safeguard the rights of the people, and those who provide for the economic upliftment. “These are the kind of leaders the country needs today. We pray that there will be such leaders,” he said.
The Cardinal also referred to the terror attacks. “There is nothing more valuable than a human life. Therefore no one has the right to snatch away another’s life. Every human life is equally valuable. We completely reject the use of human life to achieve political goals. There is no place in heaven for those who carried out the attacks. They will only go to hell,” he said. The Cardinal also said that the country has been unfortunate that in the past 40 to 50 years people have been killed to achieve political achievements. “Those who blew themselves up here did it in an attempt to spread their political ideology in this country and the whole world.” He said that people must not only safeguard their own lives but the lives of others as well. “We cannot get favourable results by destroying other people’s lives. We must feel sorry for the foolish people who carried out the dastardly deeds,” he added.
The Cardinal said those who died in the attack are saints. “We will remember them all every day. We also will not forget all their loved ones who were affected by the attacks. Every cent we get from different organisations will go towards the welfare of these families. We can build broken buildings but what is more important is to build lives,” he said.
The Cardinal also thanked the Government and Ministers Sajith Premadasa, Sagala Ratnayake and Ravi Karunanayake who had assisted in the work connected to the restoration of the Church and the Sri Lanka Navy for carrying out the restoration work.
The St. Anthony’s Shrine will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. from today.