Medical workers collect a swab sample from a resident to test for Covid-19 in Colombo on Nov. 9. (Photo: AFP)
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has urged people of all creeds to get rid of selfishness and live in accordance with the essence of their religion, otherwise the whole world will be destroyed.
The Sri Lankan prelate said there are many powerful organizations conducting research and developing sophisticated biological weapons as weapons of mass destruction.
"The same research companies also produce medicine and make money by producing them for the market. There are companies like this all over the world today and that is why the life of mankind has been brought to ruin," Cardinal Ranjith said during a televised Mass on Nov. 15.
"We do not know exactly who is behind this Covid-19. Who created this? Are the drugs produced for coronavirus good for the human body? Will they have even worse consequences? All of these calamities are caused by our selfish feelings. These are the questions facing humanity."
He noted that in countries where capitalism exists, religion has been completely forgotten and there is no spirituality at all.
"It is not just one religion that is being destroyed in the world, it affects all religions and races. It is not good to have divisions and conflicts among religions and nations," said Cardinal Ranjith.
"No matter what religion you belong to, you must practice self-sacrifice. The important thing is to live according to the religion you believe in. In today's world, the gap between rich and poor has widened. The ownership of the world's resources is not divided. Only a few people own those resources. This beautiful planet has been polluted by our own selfishness."
Sri Lanka's government has banned all public gatherings until further notice as a new cluster of Covid-19 cases expands. It has imposed a lockdown and isolated many villages to battle the fast-spreading second wave of the coronavirus.
Sri Lanka has so far reported almost 17,300 cases of coronavirus and 58 deaths. Before the country experienced a second wave in the first week of October there were only 3,396 cases with just 13 deaths. The infection rate has jumped fivefold since then.
Nirmala Mariathas, a Tamil teacher, said some individuals and large companies are making huge profits from the pandemic. Face masks, hand sanitizers and essential medicines are sold at higher prices in village shops.
"Some women who went to the Middle East to work cannot return home due to the increase in ticket prices for some flights," said Mariathas, a Catholic from Wattala.
"In the future we will have to borrow money to buy vaccines to protect the lives of the people. How difficult it is for poor countries."
Sunethra Seram, a garment factory worker from Negombo who lost her job during the pandemic, said more than 50 employees who had worked for more than two years were laid off.
"We had to pawn my gold chain and ring to support my two children, mother and husband. The factory owner did not give us any extra allowance but exploited the coronavirus to fire poor workers," she said.