Singapore— The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore issued a statement on Monday (May 31) entitled “Be Vigilant Against Information Taken Out of Context” after a sermon preached last year was circulated via WhatsApp and Facebook bearing the title, “Appropriate Sermon For PAP Cabinet.”
The homily had been preached by Archbishop William Goh on July 25, 2020, and, according to the statement, focuses on “the privilege of being chosen as a leader and how a true leader is not concerned about rewards but rather focused on serving and enriching others. Leadership is ultimately about servanthood and the joy of being a leader is when they see the lives of others transformed.”
The Archdiocese added that the labelling of the video “caused upset and concern to the Church and its followers” because it “leads to a misrepresentation of the intent and thrust of the homily”.
The video was shared by lawyer and opposition leader Lim Tean on his Facebook page on May 30, along with the doctored label.
Mr Lim, the leader of the People’s Voice party, took the video down after learning of the statement from the Archdiocese.
He wrote in a June 1 Facebook post that he had heard about the statement from a journalist from TODAY.
The opposition leader issued a response, which he posted in full on Facebook in case he would be only partially quoted.
“This video was sent to me on 29 May by a fellow Montfortian. I posted the video on my FB as I received it. I did not edit any part of it or add to it.
“I posted it because I think it contains a very valuable message on leadership whatever the sphere a leader may be involved in – whether it be in religion, politics, business or otherwise. As I said in my post, the message in the video is timeless. Those who watched the video in my post were similarly impressed with the Archbishop’s message as can be seen from their reactions.
“I have the greatest respect for the Catholic Church and Archbishop William Goh and I used to be a regular attendant at his Friday teachings at the Catholic Seminary opposite the Church Of Nativity, before his elevation to the Office Of Archbishop Of Singapore.
“I have removed my post of the video out of respect for the wish of the Catholic Church”.
In its statement, the Archdiocese said that some people might take the sermon out of context due to their “their enthusiasm and emotional frame of mind”, but this would lead to misunderstanding and could create “discord and division”.
It underlined that the Catholic Church “does not practise partisan politics” but seeks “only to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, bring good to society, promote harmony, unity and mutual understanding among all peoples.”
The statement also said that the Catholic Church hopes respect would be given to religious materials such as sermons that have been recorded on audio and video, and asked that “all parties” refrain from “doctoring the Church’s videos or images, stop the distribution, and remove such content from their social media accounts or postings”.
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