The Government has undertaken the important task of ensuring the rule of law in the country and peace and harmony among different communities by appointing Ministers for Religious Affairs who believe in their particular religion, Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said.
He was addressing a ceremony marking the beginning of work of the Minister of Public Security, Christian Religious Affairs and Disaster Management Affairs John Amaratunga held at Archbishop's House in Borella yesterday (Jan. 26). The Archbishop said that there had been a situation before where especially the minority religious communities were feeling somewhat uncomfortable because of the activities of certain extremists groups in the country.
"It was a happy moment to see different ministries given to people who believe in their particular religion, which is important. This is because the value of their particular religion is understood by the person who believes in that religion. Therefore, the Government has allocated the Ministry of Buddhashasana to a Buddhist, Ministry of Hindu religious Affairs to a Hindu, Muslim Religious affairs to a Muslim and Christian Religious affairs to a practicing Catholic," he said.
He also said that we cannot have rule of law and discipline and harmony among the different communities unless there is religion within the human person. A human without religion is like a person who is aimlessly lumbering.
"We live on this earth for a short period of time. We must live in happiness and live unitedly with all the others and we must have trust and confidence between one another. To develop a country there must be peace and harmony, there must be understanding between different types of people, people belonging to different religions, people who have different ideologies, people who belong to different classes in society." he said.
His Eminence also said that there is an essential need to have self respect and dignity and it was necessary that we respect one another. That has been stressed by his holiness Pope Francis during his visit to Sri Lanka. People of different teachings, people of different cultures can co exist and respect each other. That is the beauty of a country like ours.
"There should be integration among the Christian communities and other religious communities and good relations should also be maintained among ourselves. Out of that unity Sri Lanka becomes one country with one heart and one soul," he said.
Addressing the occasion, Public Security, Christian Religious Affairs and Disaster Management Minister John Amaratunga said that through this ministry, it is expected to ensure spiritual and physical development of 8.5 percent the catholic community and 1.4 percent Christians in Sri Lanka and also to solve their problems.
"Special attention will also be given to improve catholic education and also solve problems faced by catholic schools. It is also expected to ensure the rights of Catholics. I also hope to work in collaboration with the Education Ministry and Provincial Education Ministry to ensure the right of catholic children to study in government schools and to provide government teachers for catholic education and maintain the percentage of catholic children in state owned catholic schools." he said.
The Minister also emphasized the necessity for protecting places of religious worship and destroying the conspiracies of religious extremists.