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Catholics have forgiven Easter church bombers, says cardinal

Sri Lanka’s Catholics have forgiven the bombers who struck their churches last Easter, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has said.

Speaking at an Easter Sunday Mass April 12, the archbishop of Colombo said: “Last year some misguided youths attacked us and we as humans could have given a human and selfish response. But we meditated on Christ’s teachings and loved them, forgave them and had pity on them.”

The cardinal, who livestreamed the Mass from his residence due to the coronavirus crisis, added: “We did not hate them and return them the violence. Resurrection is the complete rejection of selfishness.”

Nine suicide bombers targeted two Catholic churches, one evangelical church and three hotels on April 19, 2019, killing an estimated 259 people and injuring more than 500. The bombers belonged to an Islamist group known as the National Thowheeth Jama’ath and were all Sri Lankan citizens.

Cardinal Ranjith, 72, has repeatedly accused the authorities of failing to give a clear account of how the terrorists were able to carry out the attack despite alleged intelligence that attacks were imminent. 

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