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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis chooses a "son of a suffering Church" as secretary for Interreligious Dialogue

Since July 3, the Vatican department in charge of interreligious dialogue has had a new secretary: Indunil Janakaratne, from Sri Lanka.

Secretary, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

"The appointment was a surprise. I wrote to the Holy Father to thank him for this gesture. In particular, I underlined the fact a son of Sri Lanka has been considered for this task. So my fellow countrymen will be happy as the church is suffering there.”

Fr. Indunil comes from a country where Catholics make up only seven percent of the population. In such a context the decision to be ordained a priest is not easy, and for him it was not. 

Secretary, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

“When I was at the major seminary in Kandy, while studying philosophy, I had a crisis of faith. I began to question everything, including the existence of God. I almost lost my faith. I left the seminary. . There was a great dissatisfaction within me. I looked for something. I also looked into Buddhist meditation and Protestant churches. However, in the end, little by little, I returned to the faith.”

The Catholic community in Sri Lanka is currently living under the threat of fundamentalism. At Easter more than 300 people lost their lives in a chain of terrorist attacks on churches and hotels.

This image is still present in Rome. It is the moving moment when the archbishop of Colombo, Card. Malcolm Ranjith, recalled the pain of the families of victims.

The role of the secretary of this Vatican department will be precisely to join efforts with other religious leaders to prevent tragedies like this, in their own country, from happening again.