Centre for Society & Religion: Human Liberation through Social Justice and Equality
The Centre for Society & Religion (CSR) marks the 40th year of its existence in 2011. Begun in 1971 amidst and in response to socio-political upheavals and the radically new thinking emanating from the Second Vatican Council, the Centre has continued to blaze a trail in taking up the cause of victimized and marginalized sections of the society. As it was then, the CSR in our times too finds itself in the midst of anti-people developments and trends. As the CSR reaches its 40th year, it is opportune for us to revisit the beginnings and the important milestones of this eventful journey, so that the CSR can be strategically positioned to carry out its mission in the years to come. The raison d’être for the launching of the CSR has been alluded to in the writings of Fr. Tissa Balasuriya OMI, the charismatic Founder of the CSR. In launching this venture, Fr. Balasuriya was supported by Bishops Leo Nanayakkara and Lakshman Wickremesinghe. Ms. Bernadeen Silva joined CSR as its Administrative Secretary. Even though the need for an institution like CSR and the urgency of quick reforms and social transformation was clear in the minds of the Founders, there was also a feeling of uncertainty brought on by the sheer complexity of the issues encountered. As the work of CSR progressed, the directions became clearer. Rationale/Background
In the waning years of the 60s the gathering storm of youth unrest was already discernible on the horizon but few paid any attention. Being involved in tertiary education and the Catholic student movement in the Asian region, Fr. Balasuriya was attuned to the changing mood of the youth in the country. He realized that education as it was imparted then failed to meet the aspirations of the youth, especially those in rural hinterland, and that they were becoming increasingly restless at the prospect of being unemployed graduates. The youth...
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