Arrest of nun: Cardinal Ranjith to boycott state functions

By Nadia Fazlulhaq

The Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith announced yesterday that as a mark of protest against the arrest of a sister of Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity, he would not attend any state event during the Christmas season until the Government or the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) rectified the situation.

Addressing a media conference yesterday at Archbishop’s House in Colombo, the Cardinal said this decision was taken because of accusations and false allegations made against the Missionaries of Charity nuns who were in charge of the Prem Nivesa children’s home.

“I remained silent as a court case was going on. But there are reports in the international media that the Catholic Church has not still issued a statement in defence of the Missionaries of Charity and their home at Rawatawatta. Today I wish to officially protest against what I see as a high-handed decision by the NCPA,” Cardinal Ranjith said, showing a report in the Italian media. The Prem Nivesa has given accommodation to 75 children, 20 pregnant women and 12 new mothers.

“The country records 300,000 abortions annually and this is a crime. The sisters here do not consider religion or race. Most of the inmates are sent there by courts and the Probations Department. Adoptions too go through courts procedure,” he said.

The Cardinal denied the allegations that only disabled children were given for adoption overseas or that money was taken for adoptions. “Some even alleged that the children were being sold for organ removal. The nuns for the past 30 years have been following Mother Theresa’s loving way of caring for children and those made pregnant as a result of rape. What happened in recent days will tarnish the good image of the nuns of the Mission,” the Cardinal said.

Missionaries of Charity Superior General Sister Mary Prema from Calcutta visited the arrested nun Mary Eliza in prison earlier this week. The nun who was in charge of the Rawatawatte home is considered to be the first Missionary of Charity to be jailed.

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