The following is republished from ColomboPage, the Sri Lanka internet newspaper:
The Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Colombo have issued a statement saying that the allegations leveled against the Cardinal by MP Harin Fernando who recently appeared before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Easter Sunday Attack, are untrue and unfounded.
Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith regrets and is shocked by a statement made by MP Harin Fernando before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Easter Sunday attacks, the statement said.
MP Harin Fernando appearing before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating the Easter Sunday Attacks on the 16th of this month stated that the Archbishop had not conducted a Mass in a public church on the Easter Sunday morning when the tragedy took place and that he had not held the Mass because he was aware of the impending danger.
However, the MP has stated that this is a baseless statement made by him based on mere speculation.
The Archdiocese stating that this is a false and unfair accusation leveled against the Archbishop strongly protested against it.
The statement issued by Auxiliary Bishops Maxwell Silva, Anthony Jayakody, and P Anton Ranjith further explained that the Archbishop conducted the service on Saturday, April 20 at St. Lucia’s Church, Kotahena, Colombo, the Cardinal’s home church.
In addition, the Archbishop also conducted a Divine Liturgy at the Archbishop’s House after midnight until around 2.00 am on Easter Sunday, April 21, the day of the bombing.
He was informed of the bomb blast at St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, Colombo, when he returned to his chamber after the ceremony on Easter Sunday.
As soon as he heard of the incident, he went to St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade, Colombo to meet the affected people accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop J.D. Anthony Jayakody.
Therefore, the statement issued by the Archdiocese of Colombo states that the lowly imaginary statement made by MP Harin Fernando in connection with the Cardinal in order to justify himself is untrue.
The Archdiocese emphasizes that neither the cardinal nor the bishops nor any of the Catholic priests were ever aware of the Easter Sunday attack.
The statement also said that the Archdiocese believes the current Presidential Commission was committed to bringing justice to the people who lost their lives and were permanently disabled due to the attack.
“We believe the government will take legal action against the brutal terrorists who committed this heinous crime, and the political leaders who were in power at the time of the incident as well as the officials who served in the public administration and intelligence services seriously neglected their responsibilities,” the statement said.