Randy Boyagoda

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The Tragic Familiarity of the Sri Lanka Bombings

The series of suicide attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, which has left nearly 300 dead and hundreds injured, is more than just a national or religious tragedy. For members of the Sri Lankan diaspora, including Catholics like me, who have family connections to the very places and parishes that were attacked, the country’s tribulations are no longer terrible, local and hard to explain to people unfamiliar with its unsettled history. Now they are terrible, local — and familiar.

Much of the world knows the outlines of Sri Lanka’s historic troubles — a three-decade civil war, fought along ethnic lines and punctuated by hundreds of suicide bombings carried out by the Tamil Tiger terrorist organization.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of a Muslim group in Toronto held signs reading “Love for All, Hatred for None” at a memorial for victims of Monday’s van attack. Credit Cole Burston/Getty Images

Monday morning, all we could talk about was the weather: Toronto woke up to a bright and warm day. Just a week earlier, as a nasty coda to a very long winter, an ice storm had battered and smattered the city for three days. Yards were strewn with debris and broken branches, and streets were clogged with snow and water and ice. Seven days later, and at last! — the weather turned. Toronto’s bike lanes and patios and sidewalks were full again.

By bright and warm Monday afternoon, the city’s conversation had changed, and it won’t go back to easy weather chatter anytime soon.…  Seguir leyendo »

Con su nueva exhortación apostólica “Amoris Laetitia” o “La alegría del amor”, el Papa Francisco reafirma vidas y cura muchas heridas, aunque su enfoque producirá confusión y conflicto.

Si la gente cree que en este documento el papa podría darle una dirección clara a los católicos divorciados que volvieron a casarse civilmente y buscan la comunión, se sentirán decepcionados. En vez de eso le habla de forma honesta e inesperada a un gran número de familias católicas que sienten que la iglesia se ha vuelto irrelevante en sus vidas.

Él es crítico con la iglesia por imponer muchas veces una visión rígida y poco realista de la vida conyugal.…  Seguir leyendo »

With his new apostolic exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia,” or “The Joy of Love,” Pope Francis affirms lives and heals wounds, even if his approach will produce confusion and conflict.

If people thought the pope might give clear direction for divorced and civilly remarried Roman Catholics seeking communion, they will be disappointed. Instead he speaks in honest and unexpected ways to a great many Catholic families who feel the church has become irrelevant to their lives.

He is critical of the church for too often advancing a rigid and unrealistic vision of married life. “We need a healthy dose of self-criticism,” he says, for having “proposed a far too abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage,” one that is “removed” from the real world and has made marriage less “desirable and attractive.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Maithripala Sirisena. Credit Ishara S.Kodikara/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Sri Lanka that Pope Francis is now visiting to canonize an 18th-century missionary is a radically different country than it was just one week ago. The difference: He will be greeted by a new president, Maithripala Sirisena, a onetime ally and cabinet minister of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the former president who failed in his bid to secure a third term.

When Mr. Rajapaksa called the early election, in November, few thought the outcome would be anything other than a greater consolidation of his increasingly entrenched position in the country. His nearly 10 years in power undeniably transformed Sri Lanka: Mr. Rajapaksa presided over the end to the island nation’s long-running and brutal civil war in 2009, when government forces conclusively defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a terrorist group that for decades used guerrilla warfare and suicide bombings to fight for a separate homeland for the Tamil-majority areas in the north and east.…  Seguir leyendo »