Information and Media Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Rev. Father Cyril Gamini Fernando said Pope Francis would be visiting Sri Lanka as scheduled and they have requested the government not to hold any election immediately after the Pope’s visit, as it can be used to gain political mileage.

“If an election is to be held before the visit, it must be held in such a way that …the preparation for the visit should not be disturbed by such an event.

We have appealed to the President to have a sufficient gap between the two events, and they have assured us that everything will be done in order to go ahead with the Pope’s visit without any disruptions due to an election,” he stated.

He added, the decision to hold an election and the dates to be fixed for such an election is entirely in the hands of the Government and the Commissioner of Elections and the Church has no interest in intervening in the matter.

Rev. Fr. Gamini added that the President or the Government did not pressure the Church at any time to stop or postpone the Pope’s visit, adding that the government was very supportive and cooperative over the Pope’s visit.

“The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka had first invited the Pope and since it involves a State visit, the Government followed up with their own invitation,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church appealed to all parties not to use the Pope’s visit to gain political mileage.

November 3, 2014 – By Umesh Moramudali