1st, March 1998
By Noel Crusz
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, whose Congregation of the Faith excommunicated Fr. Tissa Balasuriya is once again the subject of controversy. As the guiding force behind Pope John Paul's latest encyclical on 'New Age Beliefs', Ratzinger's comments have enraged Buddhists. The Cardinal blames Buddhism as "a major factor in the new Age Revival".
This is an echo of the controversy that arose from Pope John Paul's views on Buddhism in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, where he spoke of Buddhism as " negative soteriology", a stance that Buddhist scholars including Fr. Aloy Pieris SJ condemned.
The present tension comes in the wake of Rome's bungling up the Tissa Balasuriya case. Basil Fernando of the Asian Human Rights Commission in a special statement says," The final act of lifting the Balasuriya excommunication has not come gracefully from the Church and some humiliating events to Fr. Balasuriya and some of his friends have taken place."
It now appears that the 'reconciliation pact' with Fr. Balasuriya failed to examine and consider the question of whether the Sri Lankan priest is entitled to substantial financial damages being awarded for illegitimate acts of the Pope himself, and that even the Pope is not above Canon law.
Meanwhile Fr. Tissa Balasuriya has been repeatedly mentioned on Australian and world wide Television media by the Australian scholar and theologian Fr. Paul Collins , who is now facing investigation by the Vatican over his book Papal Power. Fr. Collins spoke of the way the Vatican treated Fr. Balasuriya .
Fr. Paul Collins has a wide following and challenges the Vatican and Cardinal Ratzinger to come out to the open and fight their case. He is taking a more determined stand against Rome than Fr. Balasuriya. Fr. Collins argues that 'the advent of high Papalism of Pope John Paul 2 has only increased the tension and is now driving people out of the Church in droves."
Vatican watchers are waiting to see if Rome uses the same yardstick for the Australian dissident, as they used for an Asian theologian like Tissa Balasuriya.
An opportunity for poor talented CIMA students will be made available through a Trust Fund set up with a generous 10 million rupee donation given by one of the country's most respected Chartered Accountants. M.H.G.A. Brito-Mutunayagam, who died recently. He has left the massive fund for poor students to be helped in meeting the cost of their subscription fees, course and exam fees, tuition and books, an Administrator of the Trust said.
The Trust managed by a committee of three top Chartered Accountants will be formally launched on Tuesday at a ceremony to be held at the law firm D.L & F de Saram in Colombo. Mr. Brito Mutunayagam was an authority on accounting and auditing standards, company law and taxation.
The UNP has decided to carry its propaganda programme at village level.
In a bid to broadbase its propaganda, the UNP has decided to engage about 200 young men and women with a flair for public speaking, intelligent and loyal to the party.
They will then be trained to speak in public. The new programme will start on march 14 and 15 at the 'Sirikotha'.
A senior spokesman for the UNP said the trainers would include MPs Rajitha Senaratne (Colombo District), Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene (Matara), R.A.D. Sirisena (Kegalle), Imtiaz Bakeer Markar (Kalutara) and W.J.M. Lokubandara (Badulla).
The Bogambara and remand prisons in Kandy are at bursting point with 10 suspects being crowded into a cell meant for four, officials said.
They said serious security and sanitation problems had arisen at the Bogambara prison which can accommodate upto 1000 suspects but now had some 2000 packed into it. The situation at the remand prison at Raja Veediya was equally bad sources say.
More than half the number of Sinhala families which settled in the terror-stricken border town of Weli Oya have left the area, officials said.
Weli Oya was recently brought under the Anuradhapura district for more streamlined administration, but officials of the District Secretariat said they had now found that of some 3360 families only some 1600 were left.
They said they were not aware where the other families had settled down. Weli Oya, where innocent families have been often attacked by LTTE, had earlier been under the jurisdiction of the Vavuniya District.
Disease carrying insects are multiplying in the Jaffna peninsula with many of the waste water drainage systems and septic pits either damaged or destroyed, a dissident EPDP parliamentarian said.
The parliamentarian, R. Rameswaran brought to the notice of the Health Minister, Nimal Siripala de Silva that the health authorities are unable to take preventive measures to eradicate these disease carriers and to keep their breeding under control as insecticides are not available.
He appealed to the Minister to instruct the Ministry officials to despatch adequate quantities of malathion and insecticides to the local authorities in the Jaffna district so that they can start a campaign to eradicate and keep under control the disease carriers. He also requested the Minister to instruct medical authorities in Jaffna to spray malathion in each house and compound in the Jaffna district.
By S.S. Selvanayagam
Moderate Tamil parties have called on German parliamentarians to urge the Sri Lanka government to agree to a devolution of power in a federal structure.
The call was made by leaders of the TULF, EPDP and PLOTE when they held extensive discussions on the ethnic conflict with a visiting six member German parliamentary delegation at the Trans Asia hotel in Colombo.
Tamil party sources said they briefed the German delegation on how due to various factors there were now misconceptions and fears about a federal structure in Sri Lanka.
Germany has a streamlined federal administration structure and constitutional affairs Minister G.L. Peiris recently visited the country to study the set up. The local delegation included TULF leader M. Sivasithamparam, EPDP chief Douglas Devananda and PLOTE leader Dharmalingam Sidhartham.
The sources said the EPDP had appealed to the German delegation to prevent the repatriation of Tamil refugees from there, as tight security was causing various problems to the minorities here.
The German delegation met various other parties and also visited several areas including Vavuniya to see the position of refugees there and assess their needs.
National Award Ceremony on the Best Environmental Success Story competition conducted by Sri Lanka Environmental Journalist Forum (SLEJF) is to be officially launched on March 6, from 9.30 a.m. at the Sausiripaya Auditorium Wijerama Mw., Colombo 7.
This awards ceremony is open to the public.
More News/Comments * It's too close to be a joke at all * Oh what an 'honourable' sight it was! * Burning politics of dissent * Dixit messed it - Gen. Ranatunga