Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has sent the following clarification:
My attention has been drawn to, two reports appearing in the 1st and 2nd pages of the Daily Mirror of Monday, 24th September under the heading "Human Rights is the latest religion of Western nations" and in page 6 under the heading "Beware of persons impersonating priests". In order to avoid any misunderstanding of what I stated, I wish to clarify these matters as follows:
Human Rights and Religions
What I basically intended to say on this matter was that if religion is truly practiced it could take us to achieve levels of justice, going even beyond the expectations of human rights and thus need not be such an issue for our Catholic community and so encouraged the flock gathered at that particular religious ceremony to, therefore, practice their faith truthfully avoiding turning religious values into something that is ephemeral. But I do accept that with regard to the essentially non-religious nature of the State, human rights as a common platform has its own role to play. Replacing religion with human rights is not what is to be done but human rights should be further strengthened through the good practice of faith.
Here I was commenting on a communique issued by the Episcopal Vicar of the Negombo region in the Archdiocese of Colombo, published in the Catholic newspapers, "The Messenger" and the "Gnanarthapradeepaya" of the 16th September 2018, on the activities of a person in that area, who seems to be impersonating a Catholic Bishop, wearing the same type of official garb and celebrating what appears to be Catholic religious services. I did not speak about a Cardinal. All that I did was to reaffirm what was published in the communique and to state that the Catholic faithful should know that this person is not a Catholic priest or bishop in keeping with the Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church.
Similarly, I also cautioned the faithful from being misled by certain former Catholic priests who had left the Church giving up their priestly office. Now they are impersonating as Catholic priests, wearing their traditional uniform and going around offering all kinds of promises to the people and misleading them.
I wish to reaffirm that these statements of mine have been made purely in the exercise of my pastoral responsibilities towards my flock, to a limited religious gathering without any other purpose in mind.