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Wednesday, 30 August 2000
At this crucial moment in the history of our beloved Sri Lanka, we the members of the Catholic Bishops' Conference, guided and inspired by the call of Our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, "to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world" wish to share some thoughts with you our faithful and indeed with all men and women of good will.
Sri Lanka is facing an unprecedented crisis as a result of not only the destructive war raging in the North and East and causing death, misery and economic impoverishment all around but also, and worse still, a moral and religious degradation leading to a sense of helplessness. This situation has weakened significantly all institutions and structures which ought to be in the first place custodians of justice, equality and social peace much needed for the healthy growth of a democracy. The prolonged war and the efforts to curb violence have resulted in severe economic hardships, human rights violations, corruption and a general weakening of democracy.
We also notice a polarization of public opinion into seemingly irreconcilable extremes. The result of this situation has been the growing incapacity of the leadership to rise above party and other considerations and vested interests and to courageously seek a lasting and dignified solution to this crisis. Sadly though, we have to state that very little inspiration and strength is being drawn from our rich, religious traditions and heritage to seek a way out of the impasse.
In this context and in the light of the debate now taking place, the forthcoming general elections will be crucial for Sri Lanka. It would be a great opportunity accorded to all of us to demand for and decide upon clear policies for peace.
More than at any other time, our political leaders have the duty then to spell out clearly their stand on how they hope to achieve pace and prosperity for our country in a concrete and morally correct way.
Therefore, we wish to affirm the following:
We therefore appeal to the rank and file of all the political parties and to a all citizens of good will to uphold the noble principles of democracy and thereby pave the way for a political process that will usher in lasting peace upholding the unity and sovereignty of our motherland, while assuring the growth of all races, religions and linguistic groups in their own identity.
We call upon all our faithful to always opt for peace and reconciliation
because, as Our Lord Jesus has announced, "Blessed are the Peace
Makers, for they shall be called the children of God". (Mt. 5:9).
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