Church boycotts state Christmas events
Sri Lanka, December 5, 2011: The Catholic Church is to boycott all government functions over Christmas in protest over the arrest of a nun on child trafficking charges.At a press conference in Colombo on December 3, Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said he will not participate in government-sponsored events this festive season.
He said the Church strongly condemns the arrest of Sister Mary Eliza, an Indian nun serving at Prem Nivasa orphanage in Moratuwa, near Colombo.The orphanage also provides shelter for abandoned single pregnant women.
“Our reaction to this is to stay away from any state functions or state-organized event this Christmas, until this matter is sorted out,” the Cardinal said.He said the arrest last week was carried out without any foundation of proof.Police and National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) officials raided the orphanage last week following a tip-off that children were being sold there.
“The sisters serving in these homes are from different countries and do a magnificent service. The NCPA has acted purely on an anonymous telephone call,” the cardinal said, condemning the adverse publicity given by the media last week.“The NCPA gave interviews to the media without investigating the anonymous call they received. What happened here is that the NCPA and police did not know the true facts about the orphanage, and gave the media incorrect information, which was used maliciously against the nuns.”
He said the nuns were providing tremendous support for very vulnerable people.“When pregnant women go to this orphanage seeking shelter, these nuns do not ask their caste or creed. Some girls have been raped and are suicidal because someone has destroyed their life and dignity,” said Cardinal Ranjith, who is also president of the bishops’ conference.