Cardinal William Goh of Singapore praised the city-state’s unique features as it is blessed in more than one way.
In a Facebook post, "How Blessed We Are" on October 21, Goh said Singapore needs to protect, preserve, and promote its multicultural, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic background.
In the past week at the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) in Bangkok, Thailand, he has been hearing the country's reports from the churches in Asia.
Catholic bishops from 29 countries in Asia and guests from the Vatican are attending the two-week FABC General Conference and its 50th anniversary on October 12. It will end on October 30.
"Most churches in Asia are minority religions in their countries. Most face persecution to varying degrees, from suppression to discrimination. Most of their challenges are concerned with religious conflicts, racial disunity, social injustice, poverty, unemployment, political instability, and mismanagement by government, widespread corruption, the extreme disparity between the rich and the poor, and violence made more difficult by natural disasters," the cardinal said.
When he reflected on Singapore’s situation as a country and a church, he realized how blessed Singaporeans are and how often their people may take their blessings, peace, unity, and prosperity, for granted.
"Indeed, we do not have to suffer the effects of natural disasters like earthquakes, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and severe flooding. We have religious and racial harmony among all religions and races. We have a clean government and a civil service that serves with integrity and impartiality.
"There is little discrimination against anyone because of race, religion, or gender. We are a multi-religious and multi-racial state, not a secular one. We have a government that sees religions as partners for the holistic development of the people.
"There is close consultation among religions and with the government. Indeed, we are so blessed to have good political, civil, and religious leaders who put the common good of the people above sectarian interests.
"Let us not take all these blessings for granted. We must continue to safeguard these values. Otherwise, we could fall into anarchy and division, destroying the peace and unity of our people. Once destroyed, it will take many generations to rebuild trust.
"We must elect or appoint leaders that promote unity and put the common good of the people above selfish and narrow-minded interests," Goh said.
Singapore is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic country with a population of approximately 5.7 million people. Most Chinese are Buddhists, while the majority of Malaysians are Muslims.
Christians make up about 15% of the population. The Archdiocese of Singapore, which covers the entire island, has approximately 360,000 Catholics in 32 parishes.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.