Video Of Pope Francis’ Arrival In Sri Lanka And Welcome Ceremony With New President Maithripala Sirisena.
by Anura Guruge
Related posts (click to access):
† Pope on the way to Sri Lanka
† Pope’s schedule Sri Lanka † Visit proceeds despite election upset
† Topless protests † Pope asked to reconsider
† Programme for pope’s visit † Sri Lanka will be different
† Pope’s visit not a good idea † President visits pope
† Francis must apologize … † Canonization of Vaz …
Things that struck me:
‡ They had a garishly decorated young elephant there to greet the pope. Didn’t see the pope being introduced to the elephant. It has to be a first at least for this pope. Having an elephant to greet him on arrival at a country.
‡ President Maithripala Sirisena greeted him when he bounded down the plane with only the Vatican (I think) interpreter there. So did the President talk to him in English?
‡ The pope appears to have quite a nasty cough. That could just be from the air in the plane. But, and I am not entirely an expert, but he could have a touch of walking pneumonia.
‡ Did not see any signs of the ex-president Rajapaksa or his very Catholic wife. Might have been magnanimous to ask him to attend BUT he might have tried to steal the show.
‡ Slightly too much worshiping of the pope per the Buddhist tradition. Not sure whether that is right or appropriate.
‡ Isn’t it incongruous to have a gun salute and an inspection of the troops when it is the pope visiting and it is supposed to be a mission for peace?
‡ President Maithripala Sirisena’s English was painful and I am NOT sure whether he should have spoken in English. The pope does not understand English. So he might as well have spoken in Sinhalese — the only language he claims that he speaks. His pronunciation of ‘His Holiness’ sounded more like ‘His Wholeness’. I am sure there were many that were wincing. It was strange for me to see a Sri Lankan leader having trouble talking in English.
‡ Maithripala Sirisena referred to Christianity coming from the Pope’s country! Not good. In the next sentence he used ‘Holy See’ when ‘the Vatican’ might have been better.
‡ The pope’s English probably was a tad better than that of the president.
‡ What happened to the pope’s zucchetto? He had one on when he landed but seem to have lost it soon afterwards.
‡ Shame about the wind whipping his stole over his head giving him a very middle eastern look. This pope has been plagued by this problem. Maybe they should pin down that stole.
‡ Malcolm “Tanned Ratzinger” Ranjith was, of course, there BUT did not play as prominent a role as I had expected. As I had speculated the new administration is going to keep him in his place given his close association with the ex-president.
‡ Not sure who he was (not that I know any of them) but it was good that there was a Buddhist monk, wearing the traditional shoulder exposed robe, to greet the pope. Interestingly he met with the Buddhist monk before he did the Catholic bishops. Cute touch.
So far, so good. Kind of nostalgic for me. I know that airport very, very well — going back to c. 1959 when it was still a military airport. There was no terminal. Just a rather small, one-story bungalow.