The entry of the Catholic Church once more into the volatile, contentious and highly divisive anti-government crusade led by an incredulous foreign funded Bersih, raises once more the unwelcome spectre of the division of church and state. More dangerously Bishop Bernard Paul’s partisan comments enliven the argument in favour of a theocracy to replace the existing secular democracy which Malaysia is. This time the clarion call for a theocracy is aided by Bishop Bernard Paul’s recent comments in support for Bersih.
The separation of powers doctrine and more importantly the injection of theocratic principles into a political debate in a secular though fragile state as Malaysia is, appears lost on the representatives of a the Vatican who appear bent on demolishing the separation of church and state doctrine, courting controversy wherever they go.
Thus far although the minority state based party PAS in Malaysia has been vociferously advancing the causes of an Islamic theocracy with limited success, Christians like Bishop Bernard Paul pushing religion into the mix, appear not only to provide that momentum to Muslims seeking a theocracy where little exists, he also appears to endorse the idea of religion in politics.
Most of PAS’s successes in advancing their idea of an Islamic theocracy has been the result of incitement in that direction by an opportunistic, divisive and reckless opposition coalition. They include the Roman Catholic and Evangelical Churches seeking to shore up the dwindling and inadequate political resources of their backers and allies in the Pakatan, the PKR and Bersih.
Take the Allah (Catholic Herald) affair, Lina Joy, the Indira Gandhi vs Syariah where elements of the churches had become so deeply involved in the defiant promotion of a religious agenda in breach of a constitutional prohibition.
Then consider the revelation more recently that the Evangelical churches like those of Hannah Yeoh’s and the Assemblies of God have been aggressively and openly converting Muslims migrants in Sabah to Christianity with foreign and domestic money. Once more this action is a direct violation of a constitutional prohibition against converting Muslims or proselytizing to them.
Bishop Paul’s comments point to support for a one sided unsubstantiated clam of corruption, political and financial misconduct attributed by Bersih to the current Barisan Nasional government. His provocative remarks blur the lines of division between church and state and join the calls for an undemocratic over throw of government by his support for Bersih.
Bersih’s core creed is the undemocratic overthrow of a democratically elected government. Bishop Paul’s is a direct call to ‘arms’ by a highly influential member of a highly influential though controversial representative of a foreign state, the Vatican in Malaysia.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE CATHOLIC AND CHRISTIAN CHURCHES-SEX PRIESTS AND SUICIDES
The Bishop Bernard Paul’s comments necessarily invite his opponents to scrutinize his own church and clergy when he attacks government on that self-righteous rickety Bersih platform. Thus far revelations of systemic and systematic sexual and financial abuses within the Catholic church by its clergy has avoided scrutiny in countries like Malaysia. Not anymore.
“Let him that is without sin cast the first stone”. From the New Testament comes a lesson the Bishop may wish to familiarize himself with before embarking on his war against a democratically elected government threatening another Syria like situation.
The closure of the preparatory seminary (Cardign House) in Bukit Nanas in the late 1960’s was directly the result of reports of widespread sexual abuse against young men by a predatory Catholic priest, the notorious late Father Joseph Cecil Reutens.
Of the 30 or so boarders, mainly lower secondary school students at St. John’s Institution in Kuala Lumpur, at least 4 suicides are known to have occurred subsequent to the former residents on leaving Cardign House. Their deaths occurred after the closure of Cardign House.
There are many more such reported events though they are the result of abuse in Catholic schools, boarding houses and other organizations run by the Church. The church through its clergy were brutal, abusive, intolerant especially of the poor and weak they were meant to protect in God’s name.
Though these suicides may not be directly attributed to what occurred to the victims under the ‘care’ of in the case of Cardign house, the late Fr. Joseph Cecil Reutens, the pattern of suicides appear to be consistent with that recorded trail of abuse leading to dysfunctional lives, eventually leading to suicide by victims of predatory sexual abuse elsewhere in the world. The connection between abuse and victims invariably leading to Catholic/ Christian institutions worldwide is eerily similar. The Evangelicals likewise are not excluded from accusation of misconduct. Far from it. Abuse amongst the Evangelicals is known to be widespread today in Malaysia and Singapore, Indonesia and in Indo China as it was decades ago.
PREDATORS -MORE PREDATORS AND THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
There are at least half a dozen other priests and Catholic brothers who have also been identified as sexual predators and abusers by their victims. Some are still living. One at last count was at a Church in Taiping in Malaysia. Another, a former Pulau Tikus seminary supervisor is in retirement whilst another two still serve actively as priests. Another went from being a de La Salle brother to a fully ordained priest. But their victims still find it difficult for one reason or the other to come forward to fully testify to what occurred to them at the hands of these sexual predators.
The taboo of discussing sex and any misconduct by clergy accounts for much of the reticence on the part of victims to come forward. It is very much a cultural thing shrouded in the very tribal mindset with which silence against outsiders is more than just ritualistic. It is the Omerta of religion.
The publicity and the shame victims in such situations often have to endure is another reason for the ‘silence of these lambs’.
In the 1960’s (and before) the prevailing wisdom was that priests and nuns were infallible. The Catholics and other Christians many of whom were from very traditional backgrounds and their attitudes then towards the clergy and church was such that it was a greater offence to point a finger at the house of God and his representatives on earth, than it was to endure virtuously like a martyr in silence what had occurred.
A generation or two later and the widespread publicity given to these events within the church is universal knowledge. It is widely accepted as being criminal. The crime of cover ups being recognized in law meant the protection against that perception of infallibility and invincibility has now altogether evaporated or at least diminished to the extent, the crimes of the Churches can now be laid bare at the feet of the world and that justice can and now must be done.
FINANCIAL MISCONDUCT-EXPLOITATION OF MAIDS
Apart from the sexual predatory misconduct of the Churches there are those financial crimes within them , especially the Catholics and Evangelical movements whose status as ‘Charitable” trusts and foundations have provided them with a degree of protection against independent external audits and scrutiny.
There have been numerous reports by Filipina and East Timorese maids about sexual misconduct not only by their employers but also by the priests to whom they go and confess to each week in church in search of protection and consolation. One of the priests engaged in this category of abuse is known to work very closely with a ‘Catholic social action group’ based in KL.
Similar complaints against Evangelical ministries who first rob their victims by taking tithes from them extracting it from their meagre wages as a pre-condition to admission to their churches has arisen over the years. They admit vulnerable souls like domestic maids, many from Christian countries of East Timor and the Philippines, whilst at the same time abusing them financially and physically exploiting their services. In a number of recorded cases they end up introducing these vulnerable girls to arranged church marriages within the church in order for them to be able to remain in Malaysia as spouses.
The Churches and schools under the governance of people like the much revered late Dominic Vendargon were responsible for a significant amount of financial misconduct, graft, preferential treatment of relatives and friends where contracts, scholarships, financial relief and other ‘charitable’ purposes and objects of the church was concerned.
The practice after the demise of Bishop Vendargon endures to this day in his church as it does on an equally grand scale with the Evangelical churches in Malaysia.
REVOLUTION THEOLOGY, SEX, RACISM AND MARXISM IN THE MALAYSIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Perhaps the Very Reverend Bishop Bernard Paul ought to think very carefully before he pours oil onto a very dangerous fire which will eventually consume him and his Church and people like him.
There is a right to criticize government in a democracy. But there is no right to incite racial hatred which is the purpose and the clear objectives of a movement like Bersih.
The Bersih movement has to date not produced an iota of admissible evidence to support their many far fetched claims to government ‘corruption’ something they themselves by definition are guilty of. They have failed to identify instances of ‘elections that are not ‘free and fair’ whilst enjoying the benefits of elections that are ‘not free and fair’ in their colleagues who sit in 5 states in which they won government.
The platform on which Bishop Bernard Paul stands is very rickety and shaky. He ought to be mindful of the old biblical verse “render unto Cesar what is Cesar’s and unto God what is God’s”.
There is however nothing that will stop the current international lobbying for an investigation into Christian and Catholic Churches in relation to their sexual and financial misconduct in Malaysia and Singapore.
Malaysia’s government has thus far resisted calls for inquiries such as a Royal Commission into the misconduct of the Catholic and the US inspired Evangelical Churches in Malaysia.
LEE KUAN YEW-FR. EDGAR D’SOUZA AND THE VATICAN’S BETRAYAL OF ITS BISHOPS
The late Lee Kuan Yew was less tolerant of philandering priests disguised as advocates of good causes (Marxism) when he outed Fr. Edgar D’Souza and his paramour in the 1980’s. No one believed the late Lee Kuan Yew then.
What Bishop Paul needs to also know that in that incident in the 1970’s which saw Fr. D’Souza leave the church, the Vatican out of political convenience betrayed their priests in Singapore. Bishop Gregory Yong the Catholic delegate to the meeting with did a ‘volte face’ turned against his own priests when the secretary to the Pope then stationed in Bangkok arrived at a secretly convened meeting with Lee Kuan Yew, surprised the Singapore Bishop and priests and withdrew any support for their crusades against the Singapore government.
The situation with that Catholic group had far more merit in the circumstances where their causes were concerned than that of Ambiga Srinivasan and her Tamil captive within the Catholic church Bishop Bernard Paul.
Yuri Bezmenov the former Soviet KGB defector and head of their foreign intelligence psychological sabotage units in charge of their social indoctrination programmes once referred to people like Ambiga Srinivasan, Mariah Chin Abdullah and Cynthia Gabriel and this Bishop Bernard Paul (although not them personally), “useful idiots”.