Sri Lankan church re-consecrated, cardinal challenges government

Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jul 23, 2019 / 08:01 pm (CNA).- One of the churches in Sri Lanka damaged in attacks on Easter was re-consecrated Sunday. During the ceremony, the Archbishop of Colombo criticized the government’s investigation of the attacks.

St. Sebastian’s parish in Negombo, nearly 25 miles north of Colombo, was re-consecrated July 21 by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.

The church was one of several targeted in bombings across Sri Lanka April 21. The attacks killed more than 250, and wounded another 500.

During his homily, the cardinal encouraged Catholics and Muslims to work together to stem the spread of terrorism. He also challenged Sri Lankan officials to reconsider their political agenda, charging that there has been a failure in the investigation of the attacks.

“The executive and the legislature were locked in a power struggle. They did not care about the international conspiracy against the country,” Ranjith stated.

He said that “the selfish power hungry leaders did not worry about ordinary people… The leaders did not heed intelligence warnings… the security council did not meet since October because of the power struggle.”

Ranjith said that “the current leaders have failed. They have no backbone. They must leave the government and go home.”

“I have no faith in any of these committees and commissions of inquiry. These are election gimmicks. The leadership must allow someone else to run the country.”

He expressed fear the investigation “will be brushed under the carpet,” and complained that the government “had been informed about the attacks more than three times” by Indian officials.

At the re-consecration a monument inscribed with the names of 114 victims killed in the attack was unveiled.

The Sri Lankan navy helped to rebuild St. Sebastian’s.

The government has blamed the attacks on the jiihadist group National Thowheeth Jama’ath, whom the police say was responsible for the attacks. The Islamic State has also claimed responsibility, saying the local jihadists had pledged loyalty to the group.

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