September 20, 2012
Updated 12:04 AM
THE head of the Catholic Church in Singapore, Archbishop Nicholas Chia, has responded to a blog post suggesting he was pressured into retracting a letter he had sent in support of a rally against the Internal Security Act.
Blogger Mr Alex Au, in his post published on Tuesday, claimed that Archbishop Chia first sent a "warmly-worded" letter to rally organisers Function 8 and Maruah, but later, under pressure from the Government, sent them
another letter to retract his original letter.
The statement, which TODAY obtained, did not address the allegation made by Mr Au, that Archbishop Chia's first letter was unsolicited, nor did it reveal the contents of both letters.
Here is the press statement from the Archbishop in full:
"I refer to the article by Mr Alex Au which he says is based on second hand information. Mr Au could only have obtained such an ccount from the group he referred to, with which I had communicated in private. I had earlier decided to withdraw my letter to this group as, on reflection, its contents did not accurately reflect my views on the subject, and if used in a manner that I did not intend, may inadvertently harm the social harmony in Singapore. The group had acknowledged my decision and returned the letter to me.
The article by Au, which has appeared now, months later, confirms the correctness of my earlier decision to withdraw the letter so as not to inadvertently embroil the Catholic Church and the office of the Archbishop in a political event which was being staged by the group.
The Catholic Church has always maintained the position that it will not involve itself in political activities.
We have always worked in harmony with the Government to contribute positively to society, rather than set ourselves on a collision path with the Government.
Au's article confirmed my fear that the group would use my letter in a manner that I did not agree with, and make use of the Office of the Archbishop and the Catholic Church for their own ends.
These irresponsible actions can easily cause serious misunderstanding between the Catholic Church and the Government, and damage the longstanding trust and cooperation between the two. It is most regrettable that Au and the group have acted in this manner."