A new trend of Catholic Movements in Sri Lanka

Many Catholic movements in Sri Lanka formed by the Catholic Church have been on a new trend of attempting to gain respect of the Catholic community. Lay in such movements have been referred to as “Thaththa” and “Amma” at the end of their name. Even though there is no doctrine that enables this type of name instatement this has been slowly injected to the minds of the Sri Lankan Catholic Community.

Utilizing such words as “Thaththa” and “Amma” has its scientific advantages. The two words carry the ability to enslave a person in his/her internal mind thus enforces that he is a leader and a person to be respected automatically. This is called Linguistics. But the problem is that the people who are referred to in these names are nothing more than preachers in the Movement. While globally there are many such preachers in the Catholic Church, Sri Lanka is the only church that refers to them as Thaththa’s or Amma’s.

Till the 1960’s the Sri Lankan Catholic’s only had Lord our Father, Father the Priest, My Father, Our Blessed Mother and My Mother. But while translations are so simple from Sinhala to English there are sometimes people who cannot handle the language properly, an example is that Thaththa in English is referred to as Brother and officially they call Bro. which is a liturgical title for Brothers and deacons. Yet they have not received such ordination from any bishop. The meaning of such words are really simple, Thaththa is Father or Dad, Amma is Mother or Mom and so they are both people who would lead people in other words be a shepherd. While these people act as shepherds they have no pastoral training. Just because one knows the bible’s every word cannot contribute to being a leader of a flock and a shepherd, they are preachers nothing more! This is the reason the Catholic Church has ordained Priests after receiving years of Pastoral training.

The factor of tradition is a term used by many of the movement leaders. Once I had a debate with a preacher (Thaththa) in such a Catholic movement! He told me that it’s a tradition in such movements that they are referred to as Thaththa’s and Amma’s. Traditions are things passed down from generation to generation, these movements were formed in the windows allowed through Vatican II, so as things born in the 1960’s, have they even passed a generation to have a tradition?

Steps need to be taken to ensure that these movement preachers are given their proper place in Catholic Administration, they have to remember that to the church they are Lay preachers and not ordained Priests to carry the Thaththa (Father) name suffix nor the Bro. name prefix. The Catholic Church is the most successful organization in the world! And its secret is its administration and its high relationship with the English Dictionary. Let’s all make sure the Church of Sri Lanka does not swing away from her march to her Glory with awe as the unbreakable bridge of Life in Christ.

Chirantha Amerasinghe

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