Cardinal Ranjith: “We forgave the terrorists who tried to destroy us”

On April 21, 2019, a suicide bomber killed about 100 people in this church in Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka. A few miles away, about 20 minutes later, another terrorist carried out a similar massacre in the church of St. Sebastian, in Negombo. It was Easter Sunday.

One year after the biggest religiously motivated terrorist attack in recent years, Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, in a video message said, “We offered love to the terrorists who tried to destroy us, and we forgave them.”

The response of Catholics to the brutal attacks has strengthened the Church in this country, where Catholics are a minority. The cardinal underlines that the attacks killed not only Christians, but Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, leaving a total of 279 people dead.

The two churches devastated by the terrorists have been completely rebuilt and remain very active. The restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus prevent public memorials from being held in the churches.

It’s not just about buildings however. At the request of the local Church, Aid to the Church in Need has contributed to the reconstruction of these people’s souls, in the form of personalized help to overcome the trauma.

A few weeks after the attacks, a team from Rome Reports accompanied a group of the organization’s leaders to Sri Lanka on their trip to better understand the communities’ needs.

This experience is presented in “Stronger than Bombs,” a poignant illustration of the strength of this small Catholic community. It can be seen on Rome Reports Premium.

A team from Rome Reports traveled to Sri Lanka to capture and share the spirit of the Catholic community in the documentary, “Stronger than bombs.” It is available on Rome Reports Premium.