DECEMBER 30, 2012 Vol 62, No 26

We have all heard that families are the cells of society. However, in the practical matter of governance, development continues to be measured more in economic terms than in less tangible, but perhaps more important terms. Have families in Singapore progressed and developed as much as other aspects of Singapore?

For Catholics, the problem of development is an important one. We must contribute in our unique and irreplaceable way to the development of the world. Families have a role to play in this development. And Catholic families will have their own specific contributions to offer. But do Catholic families have something unique to contribute? The document Familiaris Consortio (FC) offers an insight into this matter.

Archbishop’s Christmas message
I would like to state my displeasure with the article, Bishop: Halloween Is Not For Catholics (CN, Dec 2, 2012).

The bishop mentions the secular celebration of Halloween which has no place for Catholics. But the very word Halloween is “eve of All Hallows”, which is the eve of All Saints Day, a day of obligation.

When teaching my catechism students, I have always taught that although this has pagan roots, our Irish Catholics have used this as a time to prepare for the two feasts of All Saints and All Souls, and the importance of praying for our departed dear ones.

The ghosts I tell them is our human way of explaining the dead – that we should not fear them but rather pray for the souls of all those who have passed away – especially those whom they know. Viewing Halloween – with all its secularism – as not for Catholics, I feel, is the same way as how Christmas is looked at.
I refer to Audrey Thng’s letter, How To Promote Reverence In Church (CN Dec 16, 2012). I agree wholeheartedly that the spirit of prayerfulness and reverence among many Catholic parishioners leaves much to be desired in our churches.

As I was brought up in a Protestant family, I used to look upon the lackadaisical attitude of the Sunday Catholic churchgoers with some degree of disdain.

However, during my recent conversion to Catholicism, one dawning fact that opened my eyes to our universal Church was that we are a Church made up of broken and flawed people.

  The Musallam family puts final touches on a Christmas tree at their apartment in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Dec 15. CNS photo The Musallam family puts final touches on a Christmas tree at their apartment in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Dec 15. CNS photo

VATICAN CITY – The light of Christ has not dimmed over the past 2,000 years, but Christians today have an obligation to resist attempts to extinguish it, knowing that whenever societies have tried to pretend God did not exist, tragedy followed, Pope Benedict XVI said.

He made his remarks on Dec 14 during a morning audience with civic leaders and pilgrims from the town of Pescopennataro and the province of Isneria, which donated a 24-m silver fir tree for St Peter’s Square.