AUGUST 28, 2011, Vol 61, No 17

Dear Muslim Friends, I join in prayer with you on the occasion of your joyful feast, Id al-Fitr, which celebrates the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting and prayer.

As Muslims in Singapore and around the world celebrate this feast with renewed strength for their personal, family and social existence, the Catholic community joins in prayer with you, acting together as witnesses to our religious beliefs in conformity with the Creator’s plan, which encourages us to serve our brothers and sisters and work together for the common good.
In this continuing series on Values by the Catholic Medical Guild and Caritas Singapore, we examine the difference between organ donation and organ trading.

On June 27, 2008, an Indonesian Sulaiman Damanik pleaded guilty in a Singapore Court for trying to sell his kidney to retail magnate Tang Wee Sung for $23,700. The broker of the deal, Wang Chin Sing, 43, was to collect $300,000 from Tang on successful transaction.

Tang was fined $17,000 and sentenced to a day’s jail. Sulaiman was jailed for three weeks. Wang received the heftiest sentence, 14 months’ jail.

Should Tang have been allowed to buy the kidney? His medical condition was fairly desperate and $23,700 was for Sulaiman, the equivalent of 16 years in salary. Would it not have been a win-win situation, a fair exchange?

Organ donation or trade? Should we allow people to die for a principle? This is how the issue of organ trade is likely to crawl into people’s conscience. What is heavier in the ethical scale, organ trade or human lives?

The Church has stubbornly maintained that “the human person” is at the centre of all ethical decisions. Does this not then imply that the morality of organ trade depends on how many human persons may benefit from it?


BY NOW, you’ve probably heard about the death of British soul singer Amy Winehouse.

Winehouse’s second album, Back to Black, captured the attention of everyone who listened to it because of its originality and the sheer technical proficiency of Winehouse’s singing.

Outside of music, though, Winehouse’s life was a raucous, downward spiral as she made attempt after attempt to get off drugs and alcohol.

Winehouse tried rehabilitation, but, in the end, she always ran back to the bottle, making tabloid headlines about her destructive habits, her run-ins with the law, and performances where she could hardly stand.

It’s a horrible, sad story to lose someone with such incredible potential at such a young age and for such a stupid reason.

Police suspect that Winehouse’s death was “violent or suspicious”. An investigation into her death is being closed until Oct 26. Toxicology test results are expected by the end of August.
WASHINGTON – Mr Todd Williamson, director of the Office for Divine Worship in Chicago archdiocese, has a pretty tight schedule from now until Nov 27.

He’s making sure Chicago Catholics are prepared for the new responses to be used in the Mass effective from the first Sunday of Advent, when the third edition of the Roman Missal is implemented in Catholic parishes in English-speaking countries.

Lately he has been introducing the new missal to Chicago’s Catholic young adults in the relaxed setting of sessions called Theology on Tap. The informal gatherings are primarily held in parish halls, and food is often served.

The age group has reacted to the upcoming changes much like the overall Catholic population, Mr Williamson said, noting that their response “runs the gamut” of those who understand and agree completely with the upcoming changes and others who think the new missal will only make people feel more distant from the Church.

Despite the mixed reaction, Mr Williamson keeps on an even keel.

‘Teens are not as wedded to tradition. In today’s culture everything is always changing. New is not something they’re afraid of.’
– Fr Richard Hilgartner, executive director of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat on Divine Worship

WASHINGTON – Although the phrase “consubstantial with the Father” might not roll off the tongues of Catholic youths, Church officials and catechists hope its meaning will sink in when it is said in the Nicene Creed later this year.

“Consubstantial”, which means “of the same essence”, is closer to the creed’s original Latin and Greek text and basically holds more theological punch than “one in being with the Father”, the phrase it replaces.

It is one of several changes in Mass responses that are part of the revised edition of the Roman Missal to be implemented in Catholic churches on Nov 27.

“Consubstantial” reflects the “language of theology, the language the ancient Church Fathers carefully constructed” to explain “the mystery of Christ’s divinity”, US priest Father John Terry explained in a July 31 Sunday bulletin.