Archbishop of Singapore calls for independence celebrations, but mercy makes a nation great
On the 51st anniversary of the city-state’s birth, Mgr William Goh tells the nation to show charity to others. Technological and economic progress are not enough, “compassion and understanding” are needed for success. From one’s neighbour to young people and poor Asian nations, “The truth of the Good News of God’s love must be proclaimed without compromise.”
Singapore (AsiaNews) – Despite economic, political, technological and social progress in Singapore’s first 51 years of life, the people of city-state will not be able to call themselves a “successful, wise and great nation if we are not also known as a people of compassion and mercy,” said Mgr William Goh, archbishop of Singapore, in a message to his fellow Singaporeans on the occasion of their national holiday, which marks country’s independence from Malaysia on 9 August 1965.
In the past 50 years, “we, together with our leaders, have been focusing on building a progressive society with proper infrastructure and transparent governance. As a consequence, Singapore has grown economically, technologically and politically as a nation. There is equality, justice and harmony in our country. Indeed, we can be proud of our achievements.”
After thanking God for giving the nation “Good, competent, talented leaders with integrity and strong moral values,” Mgr Goh stressed that “In our success, we must never forget the poorer and disadvantaged peoples of our country and the world, especially those countries in Asia. In this year of mercy, we, as a Nation, are challenged to move out of ourselves to focus on others who need our help and assistance.”
“There are firstly the poor and needy in our backyard. We must never think that poverty and suffering have been eliminated from our society. Many still suffer from the lack of basic needs and the affordability of medical care.
“There are many elderly who have been abandoned by their children or are all alone with no one to assist them. Often they suffer in silence, in loneliness and misery. They are often forgotten by society. Some elderly do not even have a place to call home. There are still many who cannot afford proper meals every day.”
In addition to those who have material needs, the archbishop noted that “we must remember those who are disadvantaged in society because of disability due to stroke, accident or birth defects; those intellectually challenged, those suffering from mental illness and loss of memory.
“But we also need to extend mercy and charity beyond our peoples to those poorer nations around us”, in places where “Many cannot afford education and often are without even basic medical care.
“Indeed, when we look at the young people in these countries, they seem to have no future unless rich nations are willing to help them move out of their poverty cycle through education.”
The archbishop also calls for help to families, especially those in difficulties, “those divorced or going through difficult times in married life. They need our prayers, compassion and understanding”.
Mercy in itself is not enough. For Mgr Goh, “Charity without truth cannot save a person entirely. The truth of the Good News of God’s love must be proclaimed without compromise.”
“The failure to proclaim Christ as the mercy of God through the sharing of the Word of God, the Eucharist and the Sacraments, especially of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick, would be to shortchange our people.”
If Singaporeans carry Christs to others, “then our nation can truly be called great and wise”.