Silence is eloquence: last remarks of Rev Fr Karunaratnam
[TamilNet, Monday, 21 April 2008, 11:32 GMT]
Barely two weeks before he was killed in a Claymore attack, allegedly carried out by a Deep Penetration Unit (DPU) of the Sri Lanka Army, Rev M X Karunaratnam was interviewed by the National Television of Tamileelam (NTT). While answering questions on the Madu Shrine controversy, he said, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) was entirely responsible for politicizing the issue of the Shrine as it had attempted to achieve a militarily favourable situation by choosing to launch its offensive drive through Madu, a greatly revered Catholic holy pilgrim center. The Reverend Father also explained the silence of Vatican and the Sinhala bishops.
The interview to Nilavaram, a debate programme of the NTT was aired on 06 April, 2008. Extracts from the interview with the late Reverend Father follow:
Rev. Father M X Karunaratnam
"The Bishop [of Mannaar Diocese] has clearly said that this was a peace zone. Let the GoSL not cause confusion. It is a known fact that this peace zone is situated within the LTTE territory. Ranil Wickramsinghe's government may have signed the Cease Fire Agreement in 2002, but the then President Chandrika had accepted it, so did the International Community. The Government of Sri Lanka should have respected it."
"The Sri Lankan Government should take full responsibility for politicizing it. If the International Community has not condemned Sri Lanka and has not appropriately advised Sri Lanka, the International Community also should bear the onus of responsibility."
"Vatican is the apex body of Catholic religion, but it is also a Government. As a government they would have conveyed the necessary message to the GoSL, even if they had not publicized it."
"As a seat of religion, Vatican seems to observe silence, in order not to politicize it further, earnestly hoping that the GoSL will change its position. As Catholics we believe in that."
"During Communist revolutions, the communist armies destroyed Catholic churches in Russia, China and Poland. Vatican remained silent, in a spiritual way," he said in the Interview.
Responding to another question, on the reaction of the Sinhalese Catholics in general and the Sinhalese Bishops in particular, Fr. Karunaratnam conceded that they have not expressed any forceful opinion.
He also observed that even other Tamil bishops haven't expressed their opinion.
"This is a customary feature of the Holy See. We wait and watch. But one thing is clear: the Mannaar Bishop holds total control of this place, so his clear opinion has been expressed on behalf of everyone. The Catholic society is structured in such a manner that the Bishop is totally empowered to express his opinion on the area under his jurisdiction. Since nobody has refuted the Bishop's statement, it is enough that he has spoken."