Tag Archives: 2018-4

CFM issues statement on voting wisely

The Christian Federation of Malaysia issued a press statement dated 26 Apr 2018 reminding Christians of their responsibility as good citizens on vote wisely for a better Malaysia on May 9.  Below is the full text.

26 April 2018

A Statement by the Christian Federation of Malaysia
for the 14th General Election in Malaysia
VOTE WISELY FOR A BETTER MALAYSIA

Once every five years Malaysians have the right to elect their government and leaders. The Church is non-partisan but for Christians who are citizens of Malaysia, voting responsibly in the upcoming 14th General Election in Malaysia is a moral duty.

Genesis 1:28 tells us that God appointed man, steward over His creation. He also gave Adam and Eve, free-will – the freedom to choose. The Creation account teaches us to choose wisely for to each choice made, there are consequences – good or bad. As a community with the ability to discern, let us therefore choose wisely the leaders who will govern us. For when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice… (Proverbs 29:2). So that we may prosper and rejoice as a nation, let us approach the forthcoming 14th General Election in a right spirit.

a) Discernment
Enjoined by God to seek discernment that we may be wise and have understanding (Deuteronomy 32 : 28-29), let us ask God for an ever increasing ability to discern between right and wrong and the wisdom to choose rightly, the Members of Parliament and the State legislative assembly representatives for the next 5 years. To do so, we need to ask questions of the candidates, listen carefully to their policies and position on, among others, upholding the Rule of Law and the supremacy of the Federal Constitution and safeguarding the freedoms (including the freedom of religion) enshrined in it as well as their willingness to be held accountable and to serve for the common good, effectively, to promote the well-being of all, including the poor and marginalised. For all candidates, let us match their walk with their talk.

b) Solidarity
Being a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, we need more than ever to be a nation founded on the Golden Rule: in everything, do unto others what you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12). If we are to stand in solidarity with each other, we must build bridges with all peoples irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity, gender and socio-economic status. If we are to be a nation rooted in the love of God and the love of our neighbour (Matthew 22:36-40), our leaders need to promote actively, harmony, peace, national unity and respect for all Malaysians.

c) Prayer
Paul exhorted the community at Thessalonica to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer being integral to Christians, let us earnestly ask the Holy Spirit to point the way to leaders of God’s choosing, those who will serve all peoples of Malaysia with integrity and courage, May we too be given courage – the courage to vote according to our conscience. All authority being delegated by God, let us entrust all who are elected to our Righteous Judge confident that they will be answerable to Him for their every decision and action. That Malaysia’s 14th General Election will be free and fair and we be blessed with a smooth and peaceful transition to the next government must be our ardent cry.

Standing as one, all churches encompassed within the Christian Federation of Malaysia fervently pray for a peaceful and fair 14th General Election. We call on all political parties and candidates to focus on the issues affecting our nation, to be civil when presenting their political agenda and to desist from all strategies which may generate division, acrimony and dissension among the peoples of our beloved country.

We commend to God Almighty the 14th General Election of Malaysia. “In You, LORD my God,… I put my trust.” (Psalm 25:1-2a).

Signed,

Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim Archbishop
Chairman

Archbishop Dr Simon Poh Hoon Seng
Vice-chairman

Bishop Dr Ong Hwai Teik
Vice-chairman

Revd Dr Eu Hong Seng
Vice-chairman

Why Catholics should beware as high-tech ‘deepfake’ videos emerge

Credit: Unsplash.

DALLAS, Texas – Like any figure of importance, there is high likelihood that the Pope or another Catholic leader could be the subject of a fake video using a rapidly improving technology—and everyone needs to take care not to empower such a hoax, said Rudolph Bush, director of journalism at the University of Dallas.

“It’s very likely to happen, I think, and the consequences could be serious,” Bush told CNA  on 23 April 2018. “Depending on who is targeted by this, depending on how ripe that target is to be manipulated, it could be very damaging.”

For Bush, the prospect is “really worrisome,” given reports that social media have been used to incite societies during elections or times of racial or ethnic tensions. These tensions are manipulated to foment “not only political strife but war and in some cases genocide.”

Bush has worked as a professional journalist since 1997, serving as Dallas and Enterprise editor at the Dallas Morning News. He has written for the Chicago Tribune and the Dallas Morning News on politics and crime.

He spoke in response to the development of so-called “deepfake” videos, which are created with artificial intelligence software. One video published by Buzzfeed appeared to feature former US President Barack Obama in a public service announcement about fake news.

“We’re entering an era in which our enemies can make it look like anyone is saying anything at any point in time — even if they would never say those things,” Obama’s image said.

“So, for instance, they could have me say things like, I don’t know, ‘Killmonger was right!’” said the digitally modified president, referring to the antagonist in the 2018 hit movie “Black Panther” who aimed to launch a global African uprising.

In the video, Obama appears to insult President Donald Trump and make fun of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, before it is revealed that the president’s image is a digital modification. His lips have been synchronised with those of filmmaker Jordan Peele, who has acted as an Obama impersonator.

“This is a dangerous time. Moving forward, we need to be more vigilant with what we trust from the internet,” Peele’s Obama says.

The footage of President Obama was manipulated and set to a script. Adobe After Effects and a programme called FakeApp were used. Rendering of the clip took about 56 hours. Peele, a filmmaker who won an Oscar for the movie “Get Out,” conceived the video with his brother-in-law BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti.

With the prospect of such videos, Bush said, one has to work to “straighten out what is fake news and what is real news.”

“What it does is sow seeds of distrust and worry in societies,” he said. “And of course democracies are based on communal trust, the idea we can get together and solve our problems peacefully.”

The rise of the “deepfake” video also poses the question: will falsehood triumph?

“There used to be an old saying that the truth will win out. That is something that we based our societies on, our journalism on: over time, what is true will carry more weight than what is false,” Bush continued. “That’s being tested now.”

“We live in an age when there is so much false information, at such a volume, that it can be hard to sort out what is true,” he said. “We have a responsibility as consumers to verify what is true, and when we understand what is true, to share it with our fellow parishioners.”

He advised readers to find trusted sources of information within their community, whether in their church community or in the local newspaper, and to rely on those.

“This is a really difficult conversation in our society: whether people will trust the so-called traditional media or mainstream media,” Bush said. “A great deal of effort has been put into sowing distrust in those organisations.”

“Know from where your news comes. That’s very important.”

Both the fundamentals of Catholic teaching and of journalism and communication have shared priorities: “we seek truth, and we also verify truth,” said Bush.

“That has to be a priority when we go and we communicate. It’s a responsibility to communicate truthfully, to make sure the information we’re disseminating is truthful, it’s verified, that it’s critically appraised, before we start disseminating it,” he said.

“Otherwise we just become part of the problem.”

For Bush, it is hard to say whether the new video technology will fundamentally change the media environment or simply continue current trends.

People have become more savvy about relatively new technological hoaxes, such as scam emails promising money from a Nigerian prince, he noted.

“Nobody believes that kind of stuff anymore. So we do adapt,” Bush said. “At the same time, as these things become more sophisticated, particularly if they’re used by state actors or groups with a high level of understanding of what it takes to manipulate a society or a group, then we’ll see whether we can parse what’s real or not real.” – Kevin Jones, CNA, 25 Apr 2018

34 young priests participate in annual gathering

The young priests of Malaysia and Singapore pose with Fr Antonio Pernia SVD after Mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing, 25 Apr 2018.

KOTA KINABALU – Thirty-four young priests (below five years of priesthood) from Malaysia and Singapore participated in the annual gathering hosted by Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese on 23-27 Apr 2018.

Among the activities are three input sessions from Father Antonio Pernia of the Society of Divine Word (SVD) Philippines, meeting the parishioners of St Peter Claver Ranau, and having a cultural tour around KK and Ranau.

The inputs touched on Pope Francis and his mission (two sessions) as well as a session on the challenges of mission in the Church.

The annual gathering is organised by the episcopal commission for diocesan priests and seminaries headed by Bishop Richard Ng of Miri on the fourth week of Easter.  It is a time for all the young priests to catch up with each other and share their experiences and challenges encountered in their priestly ministry.

 

117 attend Papar Parish Confirmation Camp

Catechist Lawrence Stephen (in green) conducting the seven steps of Bible sharing in one of the groups at the confirmation camp, St Joseph Papar, 20-21 Apr 2018.

PAPAR – One hundred and seventeen boys and girls from Papar Parish attended a confirmation camp on 20-21 Apr 2018 at St Joseph here.

The camp, organised by the parish catechetical committee, was held in preparation for the reception of the sacrament on May 6.

Among the activities were an introductory ice-breaking session, Bible enthronement, and holy hour.

In his catechesis, Father Thomas Yip explained in depth the need and benefits of the different forms of prayer and devotions such as adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, rosary, Divine Mercy chaplet, Lectio Divina and the seven steps of Bible sharing.

After morning Mass on the second day, the participants were divided in groups of four and engaged for about one and a half hour at each of the four praying stations (rosary, divine mercy, bible sharing and lectio divina).

In the concluding session after sunset Mass, five participants shared their feelings and experiences in the course of the camp.

Beckham Tan Chiu Hung, 16,  shared how he was touched by Christ’s sufferings, death and resurrection and his forgiveness. He added that to be a true Christian, one ought to share the Good News.

Leonardus Simon, 17,  touched on his personal immersion during the Rosary session in  Christ’s enduring patience with the whipping and mockery by the Roman soldiers until the crucifixion site.

Efyqua Ovya Edward ,16, who comes from St Cyril Talantang, was thankful to God and Fr Yip, despite feeling unwell and the challenges in her life and family, through constant prayer she can really feel the peace, presence and mercy of God in the Divine Mercy session.

Melyyssa Ann Siaw Tze Fui, 16, shared that despite feeling drowsy, she was satisfied with the overall programme and group activities.

Ivanslaw Issac Isidore, 16,  shared his anticipation and enthusiasm to attend the camp and how he wished it could be longer since he met lots of friends and learnt the various forms of prayer.

The participants will meet again on Apr 29 for the final rehearsal and on May 4 for confession. The camp ended with an evaluation and a closing prayer. – William Charles Mindus (SOCCOM Papar)

Sandakan cathedral parish welcomes 85 new members

A section of the young neophytes with lighted candles after their baptism, St Mark’s Church Sandakan, 31 Mar 2018.

SANDAKAN – Saint Mary’s Cathedral here welcomed 85 new members into its parish family this Easter.

Sixty of them were baptised during the Easter Vigil, 31 Mar 2018,  at the cathedral while 25 were baptised at St Mark’s Church, 20 km from Sandakan.

Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom presided at the Easter Vigil, concelebrated witb Father David Garaman.  It was attended by some 1500 parishioners.

In his homily, the prelate called on those to be baptised in the resurrection of Jesus to be filled with joy in their hearts, to step out from darkness into the light of Christ with bonds of love through baptism.

The prelate also addressed the faithful on the importance of renewing their Baptismal promises. It is a reminder that Christ has risen and lived among us, to celebrate the resurrection of our Saviour, who saves mankind through his unconditional love and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, in his homily at St Mark, Father Christopher Ireneus said:”In life, we have a big rock that weighs us down. What is that big rock? It’s our sins. The resurrection of Jesus has removed the rocks that weigh us down. Believe that even now, He is still able to roll away the stone that weighs us down in our lives.”

KK clergy reflect on pope’s Lenten message in preparation for renewal of priestly commitment

DONTOZIDON – KK clergy reflected on Pope Francis’ Lenten Message in the morning of 22 Mar 2018 in preparation for the renewal of priestly commitment during the Chrism Mass in the evening.

Archbishop John Wong, 32 priests, two deacons, and three seminarians on pastoral immersion took part in the reflection at Vianney Home here.

Father Isidore Gilbert facilitated the session based on the theme: Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold (Mt 24: 12)  with the help of Deacons Gilbert Marcus and Russell Lawrine and Father Michelly Kiun.

He organised his presentation systematically: explanation, reflection, and personal reflection.

The participants reflected on the following questions:

1)  False Prophets: a) Are we falling prey to the lie of those false prophets? b) What leaves a good and lasting mark on our hearts?

2) A Cold Heart: a) How does it happen that charity can turn cold within us? b) What are the signs that indicate our love is beginning to cool?

3) Calling for practicality: What are we to do?

Curious to know the responses from the participants, this writer managed to interview some of them. Here are what they said:

“False prophets are like priests who give false hope to the people. A cold heart is like a priest who is not so charitable to the people because he looks only for personal interests rather than the interest of the people. We need to look deep within ourselves and all about us the signs described.” (Fr Rayner Bisius, Junior Priest)

Fr Jack Johimi, who represented the Young Priests, opined: “The Pope highlighted ‘greed’ in his Lenten message. ‘Greed’ brings destruction to society, destroys charity and one’s relationship with God. Similarly,  a cold heart makes us distance ourselves from God. Thus a greedy and cold heart paralyses us from sharing in God’s providential care for each of His children.”

Fr Nicholas Stephen, who represented the Senior Priests said, “For me, the Study Day’s reflection on the Pope’s Lenten message is relevant, especially for priests. It helps me to prepare for my renewal during Chrism Mass. The reflection also provides a fitting time for us to rediscover the deeper meaning of Lent so as to take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer. In fact, knowing and living out the true meaning of Lent will enable us to relive the experience of the fire of Easter.”

A Holy Hour spent before the Blessed Sacrament concluded the Study Day.

Abp Wong thanked the priests, deacons, and seminarians for participating in the Study Day. He also thanked Fr Isidore and his team for the fruitful talks and reflections. Before heading for lunch, the archbishop shared his experiences during the Ad Limina visit to the Holy Father in Rome Feb 4-9. – Fr Mattheus Luta

New convert shares on his life after baptism

Bullah (R) with son Brandon (L) and grandson Dylan (C) at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing recently.

Without miss, the family gathers to pray before partaking each meal. This is a norm for each Catholic family, and not only at normal meal times, but it is also a must for all family celebrations.

Benedict Bullah, a one-year-old baptised Catholic, said of his family. “This wasn’t the norm before my baptism.”

He promised “My grandchildren will be following my footsteps. Once they are ready, I will surely guide them towards their conversion.”

Bullah, 62, who hails from Lahad Datu, was baptised last year, together with over a hundred catechumens elected for baptism. He comes from a non-Catholic family, but the rest of his family has received Baptism at other times, leaving him as the last in their family to be made a Catholic.

“Life after Baptism is not just another day for me but a challenge to strengthen my faith,” said Bullah. He added, “It is also to keep abreast or deepen one’s knowledge in the teaching of Jesus Christ. It’s a continuing process and development for me.”

How we choose to move on after Baptism and to deepen our faith is a matter of personal choice, opined the new convert.

To be accompanied by loving and caring brothers and sisters would be the perfect catalyst for new growth in faith, Bullah shared. However, that kind of support was not made accessible to him because of some cumbersome health issues.

He sought to support his faith in other ways. The weekly Eucharist and Novena Devotion with rosary recitation have been his main source of strength.

“To miss a Mass and receiving the Holy Eucharist will make me feel as if I have lost something,” said Bullah.

He added “It’s like if you don’t eat you will physically feel hungry. But the emptiness of your soul can only be fed with prayer and the Holy Eucharist. So I do my best not to miss receiving the Holy Eucharist at all,” Bullah added.

The one-year old Catholic understood the celebration of the Mass, though it may appear to be routine, but what is important is “our focus and sincere participation in our spiritual preparation before and after receiving the Eucharist.”

He said “It fills you with peace,” referring to the prayerful preparation, and emphasised “I will not miss it, more so after receiving the Holy Eucharist so that due respect be accorded to Jesus Christ who is present in the Sacrament.”

Savouring his desire to be close to the Saviour, Bullah pondered that perhaps this is what really drives him to ensure not to miss Mass.

Another way of supporting the growth and strengthening his new-found Catholic faith, Bullah revealed that he updates his knowledge by researching and reading on Catholic teachings as well as joining Catholic Groups online.

“There are vast troves of information on Christianity, specifically on Roman Catholicism on the internet and I find it very informative,” shared the budding Catholic.

Bullah hopes to be able to join his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in their fellowship in the near future.

Likas parish welcomes 20 new members into its fold

(R-L) Neophytes Hilary, Clare, Gabriella, Sonia, Susanna and others enter the St Simon Church Likas after their baptism, 31 Mar 2018.

LIKAS  – On Easter Vigil  31 Mar 2018, a 2000-crowd witnessed the baptism of nine adults, two teens, six children and three being received into full communion with the Catholic Church, presided by  Father Cosmas Lee, at the St Simon Catholic Church here.

These baptisms are an Easter story that tells of a new life, a new purpose, a new mission that can change the face of the earth.

How do we reconcile the meaning of Easter – the celebration of new life, new hope, new possibilities, new dreams and new mission – with the hopelessness caused by all the troubles in the world, and in our own backyard?  How are we called to see new possibilities in the midst of all these uncertainties?  What is hope saying to us?

This is a pertinent question for Christians as we enter the joyous liturgical season of Easter.

In our own backyard, many feel a sense of hopelessness through the deteriorating value of the Malaysian Ringgit.  We also have the elderly who, sadly, have to go back to work because of the rising cost of living.

Malaysians are also faced with the stark and unfortunate reality that this country, which was once a peaceful multiracial society, is now filled with bigotry and racial and religious polarisation in practically every sphere of life, among the old and even the young.

We are also besieged by a surge in corruption, which appears to be permeating every level of our governmental and administration system.  We can no longer identify just one “bad apple” as it were.  This one bad apple has affected the whole basket!

While there is so much trouble all around us, it also brings to the fore the interesting question of “hope.”

Every Easter, we hear a wonderful story from the Gospel of Luke about two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

During this journey back, they encountered the Risen Lord and were transformed.  He approached them, walked with them and talked about scripture, bringing up events that led to the breaking of bread and finally his death.  It was then that their eyes were opened – they recognised the Lord.  He had risen!  He was alive!

That very moment instead of walking towards Emmaus, they decided to walk back to Jerusalem.  They decided not to walk in the way of hopelessness but their steps were lightened with hope instead.

Many things happened to them on the road – the talking, the listening, the thinking, the change of heart, and the willingness to see old things in a new way.  This was what hope did for them and they shared the experience from hopelessness to hopefulness with the people.

Now this is exactly what our Christian journey is.  This is the transition, the new hope that we are invited to, we who are facing all kinds of hopeless situations in our nation/world, and perhaps troubles and despair in our life, in our marriage, in our family, our work and our parish.

So what exactly is this hope?

This hope calls us to be different; it is listening to the Risen Lord and it makes us get up and walk to Jerusalem, towards life and towards newness.  This is what the joyous Easter message is inviting us to do.

It is absolutely wonderful to see hope in action, such as in parishes across the diocese which give birth to new Church members to walk their catechumenal journey in order to be baptised.  This is an excellent example of hope that is active and reaches out to make things happen.

Gabriella Chong, baptised on Easter Vigil alongside eight other adults at St Simon’s, speaks of a powerful experience of her sin being broken and experiencing new life as she relates her baptismal experience to Romans 6:4 “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

Speaking of her imminent marriage to a Catholic, she exudes confidence in her newfound Catholic faith “I am certain now that we can live a Catholic married life, and to pass our Catholic values to our children.”

While another newly baptised, Susanna Su values the concept of “community” taught by her catechumenal journey.  “We should be supporting and caring for each other, and not judging people but accepting them. I have learned to accept and love myself more, just as Jesus first loved us,” said Susanna.

Neophyte Aaron Arulnanthi, like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, is enthusiastic about learning from the catecheses which taught him to look for and to recognise the presence of God in his life.

Comparing his life in 2013, the newly baptised marvelled:  “Many aspects of my life and thinking have changed! It is not about me anymore, but all about the Lord Jesus Christ!  He is the very reason I wake up every day!”

Evangeline Chong, another neophyte, admitted that life prior to baptism was hard with all its ups and downs.  Familiar story, but after encountering hope through the Risen Christ, Evangeline felt like she has been transformed to a person with changed personality, as was her transformed friend who introduced her to RCIA.  She sensed the precious changes in her being humbler in outlook and a yearning for simplicity in living.

Meanwhile Clare Wong declared that she finds peace each time she walks into the Church, a fact which she acknowledged as what the RCIA programme has blessed her with.  “I know this is where I belong,” said Clare.

On the night of her initiation, Clare recalled: “I felt at home and grateful to be part of my new Catholic family with whom I now can walk and grow in my faith, and to pass on to others.”

As one who experienced hope arising from a hopeless situation, neophyte Emmanuel Lisius testified how, against every odd in his life of brokenness and neglect since his teen years, the Risen Christ let him see that there is hope in hopelessness when he allowed Christ to touch him.

The experience of the “closeness” of the Risen Christ in his catechumenal journey has given him the warm assurance that baptism and becoming a member of the Catholic family is indeed part of what God has in store for him.

Similar stories of hope are born this Easter as the parishes across the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu received 1060 new Catholics on this most solemn night of all nights, Easter Vigil.

The same Good News is echoed in the Dioceses of Keningau and Sandakan as they too received hundreds of new members into the Catholic Church. – (Some materials are used here with permission from CAN, contributed by Fr Joseph Stephen CSsR.)

Blessed are you if you do it

The sentence I heard recently at a union meeting really resonated: We don’t leave jobs, we leave bosses.

Is there a more succinct truth in the world of employment? I have had bosses for whom I gave my all, worked extra hard, went beyond my job description. And I have had bosses who have made me look for other jobs, who used their power in a way that squashed my spirit.  Those are the bosses I left.

Supervising other humans is not an easy task, I grant you. But the people who are the most successful managers and bosses understand the simple equation that leadership equals service.

The best bosses approach their work as a way to help the people under them shine, grow, learn and perform their jobs as well as possible. The best bosses also never ask their employees to do anything that they themselves would not be willing to do. When the boss serves as a support to the employee, the workplace environment is positive. There is less worker turnover, less drama, less resentment. Leadership as service is a winning proposition. Why, then, is it so rare?

Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles. That story, found in the Gospel of John, 13:1-17, is repeated every year during the Mass of the Last Supper. After washing their feet like a servant, Jesus said to the Apostles: “Do you realise what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

If the Son of God can lead by serving, we must try to do the same.

I recently attended a Mass where the presider berated the ushers for passing the collection baskets before he was done explaining what the collected money was for. By berating I mean actually yelling at them and treating them as though they had deliberately and personally affronted him. This was in the middle of Mass. This rather shocking behaviour seemed like a good way to decrease the number of parish volunteers. It was leadership by intimidation, exactly what the church currently does not need.

If we follow Jesus, our behaviour in all walks of life should mirror his model of leadership as service. “If you understand this,” Jesus said to those whose feet he had just washed, “blessed are you if you do it.”

If you do it.

All of our reading, along with the piety of our preaching, is worthless if we do not do it. Whether we are the president of a company or a country, a pastor or a principal or a parent, we are to lead by serving. We already know what Jesus would do. – Valerie Schultz @ America

Bishops issues pastoral letter on voting

On 24 Apr 2018, the Malaysian Bishops’ Conference issued a pastoral letter to the People of God.   Below is the full text.

MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT
FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF OUR NATION

“All citizens should be mindful of the right and also the duty to use their vote freely to further the common good.”  (Gaudium et spes – Church in the Modern World, n.75).

Dear People of God,
The upcoming 14th General Election presents us, once again, with an opportunity to participate and
exercise our democratic right to vote and choose our leaders. Every General Election rekindles in each of us expectations, aspirations and a desire to help shape our nation not just for us but also for the generations to come.

DISCERN
The Church calls on her members to exercise conscientiously the right and duty to vote for the common
good of all. Therefore, as Christians, we have a civic and moral duty to engage and participate in the
democratic processes of our beloved country. As responsible stewards, there is no room for attitudes of
indifference or apathy towards the good governance of our country. Every vote helps set the direction of our country and society for the next five years and it is only proper that we ask for divine assistance and guidance in our choices in order to allow our nation to flourish and continue to prosper.

Every registered voter must ‘turn up and vote’ because it is here that we exercise our responsibility and, once again, stake our claim in securing the future of our country by choosing our leaders. We need to choose leaders who truly care for all the ‘rakyat’, promote justice and equality, stand up for principles with integrity and work for the common good of citizens and strive to build a cohesive, harmonious and prosperous nation.

REFLECT
Every election is also an opportunity for self-appraisal not only as a nation but more importantly for us as citizens of this country. Therefore, as citizens, we ought to desire the best possible political leaders who are free of corruption so as to help us achieve the common good, and we have a responsibility to participate in the political process by voting. We must cast our vote through prayerful consideration and in accordance with our conscience formed by the Catholic faith.

We, as Catholic citizens, must inform and form our consciences in accordance with the principles of Catholic social teaching. The first and most essential principle of our social teaching is the dignity of every human person and each one’s basic right to life from conception to natural death. Respect for human dignity is the basis for the fundamental right to life. This is a non-negotiable principle that is supported by our beliefs. Many non-Catholics, too, think a society dedicated to the common good
should protect its weakest members. Other principles include the call to community and participation, the centrality of the family, the dignity of work and rights of workers, the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity and the commitment to stewardship of the environment.

ACT
What can I do?
• Exercise my moral duty to vote according to my conscience.
• Encourage my family and friends to also vote.
• Educate myself on issues at hand and be informed of the track record of all candidates and political
parties.
• Ensure free and fair elections; volunteer to be a Polling and/or Counting Agent.
• Extend a helping hand — provide transportation to the polling station and whatever assistance
needed for the differently abled and other needful individuals, to ensure they have the opportunity
to exercise their votes.

PRAY
• Pray for a peaceful and clean election.
• Observe the Day of Prayer and Fasting for the GE14 as declared by the Bishops’ Conference of
Malaysia on the date/time as specified by your respective dioceses and parishes.
• Respond to and participate in the Call to Prayer being observed by our Christian brothers and sisters
of the denominational churches:
▪ NECF Malaysia: A Call for 21.21.21. Time of Prayer and Fasting for the Church and our Beloved
Nation (www.necf.org.my/newsmaster.cfm?&menuid=43&action=view&retrieveid=1675)
• Pray without ceasing throughout this Election period.
• Pray that all candidates/political parties/leaders will respect the outcome of the GE14.

May the Holy Spirit, grant us the wisdom and fortitude we need in choosing those who will represent and lead us in our national and state governments. Therefore, we urge you, stand up, uphold the common good of our nation, choose wisely, and your vote will be a blessing for our nation.

We place our country unto the hands of Mother Mary to always guide, protect and bring us abundant
graces. May God bless you all and our country, Malaysia.

Yours devotedly in Christ,
+ Most Reverend Julian Leow, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur
President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia
24 April 2018

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