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Cardinal’s Extension Bid Amid Allegations of Easter Massacre Exploitation

Cardinal Ranjith's Controversial Extension Bid Amid Allegations of Exploiting Easter Massacre Victims for Personal Gain Raises Questions About Leadership Ethics and Accountability.

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The mercy of God must be vigorously proclaimed, said Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith of Sri Lanka. [Photo courtesy: Dan Valenti]

by Our Diplomatic Affairs Editor

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, has reportedly sent a written request to the Vatican for an extension of his service until justice for the victims of the Easter Sunday massacres is completed, according to reliable sources in the Vatican who spoke to the Sri Lanka Guardian. However, the Vatican has yet to confirm his plea, added the sources.

The cardinal’s plea, however, according to sources, “has raised eyebrows due to its departure from established protocol. Instead of informing the bishops’ conference in his native country (Sri Lanka), Cardinal Ranjith approached the Vatican directly, bypassing the tradition in the Church.”

“At the heart of the controversy lies Cardinal Ranjith’s disregard for age-related ecclesiastical norms, which typically require resignation at 75 years old. Born on November 15, 1947, the cardinal is pushing against the boundaries of convention in his quest to extend his tenure,” a source added.

This development comes amidst Cardinal Ranjith’s history of issuing stringent liturgical guidelines in his diocese. Notably, on October 7, 2009, he implemented measures such as recommending Holy Communion to be received reverently kneeling and on the tongue, while also forbidding laymen from preaching and priests from incorporating elements or styles of worship from other religions into the liturgy.

“While the Vatican deliberates on the cardinal’s request, the juxtaposition of his actions against the backdrop of the Easter bombing aftermath raises questions about the intersection of personal ambition and genuine service to the afflicted,” a source in the Vatican opined. “As Sri Lanka continues to grapple with the scars of tragedy, Cardinal Ranjith’s bid for extended service underscores broader conversations about the responsibilities of spiritual leaders in times of crisis and the exploitation of them for personal advantages,” the source concluded.

In 1970, Pope Paul VI decreed that cardinals overseeing departments of the Roman Curia or other permanent institutions of the Apostolic See and Vatican City should step down voluntarily upon reaching the age of 75. Those who choose not to resign lose their voting rights for a new pope once they reach 80. Only cardinals under 80 are permitted to participate in the election of a new pope, and their total count is capped at 120. These voting cardinals are referred to as cardinal electors.

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

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