In his Pentecost message, Mgr William Goh tells the faithful to be proud of Christ and renew their commitment to society. "We cannot afford to remain as spectators on the sidelines when our faith is challenged, denigrated and ridiculed.” He also highlights the limits of the Church in the city-state, with congregations that are "too concerned with the 'doing'”and members who are too individualistic.
Singapore (AsiaNews) – Mgr William Goh, archbishop of Singapore, issued a letter for Pentecost in which he talks about the challenges the Church has to face in the city-state where many of the faithful are forgetful of their duties and responsibilities.
“If the call to be proud to be Singaporean means to stand up for Singapore, so too, is the call to stand up for Jesus if we are proud to be Catholic,” the letter says. “We must make Jesus known and loved. The Good News, if it were truly good, cannot be kept under a blanket but must be seen by all and give light to others.
To achieve this, Mgr Goh's first appeal is for unity. “What the world needs most is unity”, but “The reality is that there can be no unity unless there is love. But there can be no love unless it is founded in truth. So where is the truth to be found?
For him, “the Christian answer to true unity is the Holy Spirit who leads us to Jesus who is the fullness of truth.” Hence, “being proud to be Catholic means that we should be even more patriotic as citizens.” What is more, “We are called to play an active role in fostering unity in the world but not just any superficial unity which the world is currently built on.”
Catholics “must be ready to individually speak up and stand up for our faith and Catholic values. Today, many channels are possible; through the internet, Facebook, blogs, Twitter, mass media and forums. We cannot afford to remain as spectators on the sidelines when our faith is challenged, denigrated and ridiculed.”
Yet, “before we can do all these, we need to be formed in our faith. This entails first and foremost, strengthening our spiritual and doctrinal faith”.
Sadly, Singaporean Catholics have serious limits. “We have very little knowledge of our faith, both with respect to prayer life and spiritual life. Our knowledge of the faith and the teachings of the Church are weak and superficial. Less than 10 per cent of our congregation are actively involved in the service of the Church.
What is more, too many “are more concerned with the 'doing', but hardly do they set aside time for spiritual, scriptural and doctrinal preparation.”
The archbishop goes on to describe the "little sense of community" that Sunday Mass goers have, and the sadness caused by lay people and clerics who are lukewarm in their faith or betray it for money.
At the same time, Mgr Goh warns against being “too judgemental. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are reminded of the Gospel of compassion and forgiveness.”
“So we stand up for Jesus not to condemn others but to stand up for fullness of life and truth and for love.”