Father Tissa Balasuriya the Catholic Priest with an Eastern view of Christianity and its interpretation, coincidentally died in January 27th 2013 a month before his nemesis Pope Benedict XVI resigned as head of the Vatican. By nemesis I mean that the person who was instrumental in his ex-communication from the catholic church for a period was the then Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) who as the head of the “Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith” took a dim view on his interpretation of the role of the Virgin Mary as a more dominant and powerful figure in the life of Christ, and not the docile image of purity as portrayed by the Church. This amidst a few other issues.
See the link below to the obituary for an extremely insightful opinion on the life and times of Fr. Tissa Balasuriya, that gives a timely approach to an alternative viewpoint the Vatican MUST adopt in their decision to elect a new Pope. Ironically the Sri Lankan Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith was a senior figure within the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith with Cardinal Ratzinger as his boss, so no amount of speculation of his elevation to change the status quo to give a hearing to Fr Tissa Balasuriya’s view. The link, an extremely in depth obituary is worthy of a detailed read to appreciate this blog entry.
It is important I believe especially in Multi-religious countries to have inter religious discussions between senior theologians so that misunderstandings and fundamentalist interpretations are elaborated on as merely just ONE opinion of many and not the generally stated view of the religion itself.
If someone disputes my word above of Sri Lanka being a multi-religious country, then I would ask him first to legislate it as only being of one religion and remove all other religious holidays from the Calendar other than Buddhist ones for a start and then see if this is a practical option or just a opportunistic rant! It is shameful for some to maintain that religion is the preserve of one Community that dominates this Island, and then permit other religions the national holidays recognizing the diversity of this country.
Reading the obituary, one is staggered by the forward thinking of this person, and his place in accommodating, neigh elevating all religions to a level, where no matter what we believe we MUST appreciate, tolerate, understand and revere other beliefs and the entitlement of others to hold such beliefs. Only then can we as humans achieve the sense of decency and humanity that is the sign of maturity.
I believe all children in Sri Lanka when they reach a certain age must be taught comparative religion. Only then will most of the bias out of ignorance be reduced.