Colombo Archbishop, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, told the President that His Holiness Pope Francis I, had told him that the “Pope admires the simple lifestyle and the law abiding traits of the Sri Lanka President, more than in any other leader.”
The Archbishop said His Holiness told him: “Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena is a leader who has the same traits and temperament as I do. He is a simple leader who is worth emulating.”
His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith passed on the Pope’s comments to the President when members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka led by Colombo Archbishop His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith called on President Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday.
His Eminence and the Bishops representing dioceses expressed the gratitude of the Sri Lanka Catholic Church to the President and to the government for the assistance and cooperation extended in making the Papal visit a success.
They also welcomed the people oriented and people-based decisions taken by the government, and said that the Church would extend maximum support for their implementation.
The Bishops observed that although the 30 year internal conflict has been won, the winning of hearts and minds of the people has not yet happened in the country.
“We give our blessings and assure you of our whole-hearted support to the President. We appreciate your genuine effort in winning the hearts of the people,” the Bishops said.
The Bishops also recalled the sacrifices and commitments of the President in serving the people of this country and assured their Blessings to ensure his forward march for peace and prosperity of the country.
The Bishops also took this opportunity to draw the attention of the President about several issues and problems experienced by the polity of the respective districts.
Bishop of Jaffna Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Saundranayagam expressed his appreciation over the programme implemented by the President in respect of the people living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. His Lordship went onto say that it was a correct decision and a duty performed by the President in giving back the land to the people, which had been taken over by the Security Forces.
Bishop of the Badulla Diocese Most Rev/Dr. Winston Fernando SSS drew the attention of the President to the hardships borne by the people who constantly faced by landslides which affected the people of the Badulla District.
The President who listened to the Bishops took immediate action to direct the officials concerned to look into the matters raised by the Bishop of Badulla and bring relief to the people, states a media release issued by the President Secretariat.