Archbishop: Church needs to cope with change, or be deemed irrelevant
It was full house at the Church of the Risen Christ on Aug 7 as about 1,000 parishioners took part in a day of recollection conducted by Archbishop William Goh.
The theme was the New Evangelisation.
In his talks, Archbishop Goh addressed mainly three issues: how to respond to a fast-changing world, bringing lost sheep back into the fold, and being equipped for the New Evangelisation.
Many changes have taken place in the world in the last decade, especially in areas such as technology, geopolitics and social media, and more changes are expected ahead. Archbishop Goh warned that the Church needs to be prepared to respond to the challenges brought about by these changes, or risk being overtaken or deemed irrelevant.
These changes include new laws on abortion, contraception, gay rights and same-sex marriage passed in other countries which have divided communities around the world. The Catholic Church has not been spared.
Archbishop Goh said the Church needs to be more caring and sensitive to the needs of people with differing views. Many Catholic divorcees, single parents and people with same-sex attraction are in a moral dilemma, sometimes through no fault of theirs. They want to remain in the Church.
Catholics should do what they can to reconcile these people to the Church instead of ostracising them.
Archbishop Goh said there is a need to reconsider how catechesis is being done. Children should no longer learn by rote. They are already exposed to all kinds of information through the Internet and social media, some of which are at variance with Church teachings.
The Church needs to find new ways to catechise and communicate with its children, and make catechism classes more engaging and interesting.
Archbishop stressed that in order to begin the work of evangelisation, Catholics first need to be holy. “The reason why our efforts at evangelisation fail is because our ministries are more concerned with doing work than discipleship. We first need to be convicted of the Word of God and become disciples before attempting to evangelise,” he said.
Mr Chris Soh, a parishioner, said: “It was great to be coming together as a parish community to reflect on something as important as evangelisation.”
Mr Michael Chong, chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC), said the day of recollection “has raised the awareness of many parishioners of the urgency of the New Evangelisation, and on the need to be evangelised.”
He added that the PPC will be looking into ways to “filter down the spirit of the New Evangelisation to the various ministries” of the parish.
By Vincent Especkerman