Sabah Catholic Lawyers Apostolate (SCLA)

The Sabah Catholic Lawyers Apostolate (SCLA) had its inaugural meeting on 18 Aug 2012 at the Human Development Commission Office, Catholic Archdiocesan Centre Penampang.  It met with the archdiocesan clergy at Vianney Home Dontozidon on 7 Nov 2012 to explain the nature and objectives of its apostolate.  It held a dialogue with the director of Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara at the latter’s office in Kota Kinabalu in May 2013.  It organised an advocacy on “The Effect of Conversion and Apostasy on Family Law” at St Peter’s Claver Ranau (June 2013), St Edmund Kota Belud (August 2013) and St Dominic Lahad Datu (October 2013).

It was born out of necessity to help Catholics affected by a wide range of difficult issues ranging from the following:

  1. Catholics receiving an Identity Card bearing the word “Islam”
  2. Denial of constitutional right to freedom of religion
  3. Plea by minor children where both parents have embraced Islam
  4. Position of spouse when the other spouse has embraced Islam
  5. School/College/University students and their parents’ allegation that their children were coerced into converting to other religions.

Composition
Lawyers and Associate Members

Objectives
1. To function as a think-tank for Catholic priests on matters of apostasy and conversion out of Islam and their effect on family law thereby to enable the priests to be in a better position to advise Catholics affected by such matters.

2. To provide advocacy for matters concerning the position of minor children in the event of the parents’ conversion to other religions.

3. To provide advocacy on the conflict between civil and syariah law on issues pertaining to family law.

4. To provide advocacy on the conflict between native customary law and syariah on issues pertaining to family law.

5. To render assistance to Catholics who are adversely affected by government policies which have the effect of purportedly violating their freedom of worship through a just, cordial and peaceful dialogue with the relevant government agencies.

6. To provide an alternative forum for discussion on issues that are of interest to Catholics.

7. To foster unity among Catholic lawyers through the Liturgy and other forms of life-giving union.

Directory
Coordinator: Ruth Marcus 013-8505502
Asst Coordinator: Wotti Junius 013-8759737
Secretary: Irene Vitus 019-8606735

Committee Members:
James Patrick (013-8505502), Denis Ho Kin Kong (019-8802110), Jeyan Marimuthu (019-8106399),
Datuk Gordon Leong (019-8810168), George Damianus Aludah (013-8606000),
Martin Idang (Liaison of AHDC, 013-8112293), Dominic Lim (AHDC Representative, 013-8567551),
Justin Ginduk (Representative, Mahkhamah Anak Negeri)

Spiritual Adviser: Fr Bruno Yasun  013-5557377

Red Mass
A Red Mass is a Mass celebrated annually in the Catholic Church for judges, attorneys, law school professors, students, and government officials. The Mass requests guidance from the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice, and offers the opportunity to reflect on what Catholics believe is the God-given power and responsibility of all in the legal profession.

Originating in Europe during the High Middle Ages, the Red Mass is so called from the red vestments traditionally worn in symbolism of the tongues of fire (the Holy Spirit) that descended on the Apostles at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Its name also exemplifies the scarlet robes worn by royal judges that attended the Mass centuries ago.

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