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Sri Lanka cardinal: All Sunday Masses cancelled until further notice

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith (Getty)

Churches across Sri Lanka remain closed over continuing security fears

All of Sri Lanka’s Catholic churches were closed on the Second Sunday of Easter after a series of bombings killed over 300 people a week earlier.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, ordered the closures after saying he had seen leaked intelligence documents warning of further attacks. Churches will remain closed until further notice.

The cardinal had earlier criticised Sri Lankan authorities for failing to act on foreign intelligence saying the attacks were imminent. “We didn’t know anything. It came as a thunderbolt for us,” he told reporters.

“I felt betrayed a little bit. I felt sad. It’s a very serious lapse on the part of the security agencies that they didn’t tell us about it,” he added.

AP reports that many Catholics stayed at home and knelt before their television sets as Cardinal Ranjith delivered a homily from a small chapel at his residence in Colombo.

“This is a time our hearts are tested by the great destruction that took place last Sunday,” the cardinal said. “This is a time questions such as, does God truly love us, does he have compassion toward us, can arise in human hearts.”

President Maithripala Sirisena later issued an emergency law banning all face coverings that obscure a person’s identity, including the Islamic veil, as police continue to crack down on militant groups.