FEBRUARY 23, 2014, Vol 64, No 04

Fr Henry Siew’s anti-evolution article (Did Humans Evolve From Monkeys?, CN, Feb 9) misrepresents both the theory of evolution and Church teaching on the subject.

While Fr Siew is correct that no present-day species has evolved into another present-day species, this is not what evolution claims. Evolutionary biologists posit that man and monkey share a common ancestor. No one suggests we evolved from the monkeys we see at Bukit Timah Reserve.

Geologists and biologists estimate that the Earth was formed some 4.5 billion years ago, and the first single-celled organisms – from which all living things descend – emerged 3.8 billion years ago.

Since the fossil record clearly shows the appearance and disappearance of distinct but related species over time, scientists deduced that one species had evolved into a multitude of different ones.

Fr Siew gives no scientific evidence to back his sweeping claims that “no matter what form [vegetable or animal life] appeared years ago, they are no different now” or that Man “had not and will never be evolved from any other species, plant or animal!”

The Magisterium has not ruled definitively for or against evolution. But Church leaders have been increasingly open to the idea.
With reference to the article, Did Humans Evolve From Monkeys? (CN, Feb 9), I do agree with much of the fundamentals of the theology Fr Henry Siew put forth in his article. As a Catholic scientist, however, I simply cannot accept the science presented.

There is a good reason for the Church’s caution in not jumping on the bandwagon regarding this matter. It was embarrassed in the 17th century by its mishandling of the theory put forth by the great scientist, Galileo Galilei, by placing him under house arrest and condemning his theory.

The theory involves his observation, using techniques from astronomy, that the Earth revolves around the sun, not vice-versa. Incidentally, the Church’s objection to Galileo’s assertion was based on the same theological principle that was raised in the mentioned article on evolution: Man holds a special place in God’s eye.  

Not known to many people, even till this day, is the fact that the Church was right but for all the wrong reasons.

Galileo’s theory is a theory that is complete only at certain levels. We didn’t know about the universe or the Big Bang theory, which tells us that, as in Genesis, virtually nothing existed in the beginning, and was first co-propounded by the Belgian priest, Fr Georges Lemaitre.

Most of all, they did not know then about an important theory now known as Quantum Mechanics.
A group picture with the Spanish-speaking children who received their First Holy Communion at Church of St Bernadette.A group picture with the Spanish-speaking children who received their First Holy Communion at Church of St Bernadette.
A look at a foreign language community in Singapore, the activities they have and how they interact with the local Church

THE roots of the Spanish-speaking Catholic community in Singapore go way back to December 1999 when a group of Mexican Catholics organised a Mass in honour of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Opus Dei Fr Joe Lopez who arrived in Singapore the same year was invited to celebrate the Mass.

Fr Lopez who now takes care of the community told CatholicNews that there are no official statistics on the Spanish-speaking Catholics in Singapore. He estimates there are 80 to 90 Catholics who attend the monthly Spanish Mass.

They come from countries including Spain, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Paraguay, Uruguay and Ecuador.
Young people participate in praise and worship at the Evening of Worship on Feb 10. Young people participate in praise and worship at the Evening of Worship on Feb 10.
Give praise and be thankful to God even in difficult circumstances.

This was the main point Ms Maria Vadia stressed to young people during her talk at the Evening of Worship event on Feb 10.

“Let praise be always coming out of your mouth,” she told the 250-strong crowd gathered at the Catholic Archdiocesan Youth Centre on Lorong Low Koon. “The Holy Spirit is with us when we give praise.”

The audience at the event, organised by the archdiocesan Office for Young People (OYP), comprised mostly young adults, including participants of the ongoing School of Witness (SoW) programme.
Chen: We are all connected by a single humanity.Chen: We are all connected by a single humanity.
Ilo Ilo is the first Singaporean film that won the Cannes Film Festival’s Camera d’Or in May 2013.

The film was also awarded an Ecumenical Prize at the Jameson CineFest Miskolc (Hungary) in September 2013. An ecumenical jury includes members who are Catholics and Protestants.

The following is an excerpt of an interview with Chen:

Q. As the director and scriptwriter, what were the human values that you and the film stood for?

A. I feel that as a human being, we always try to be the best of ourselves, but we will never be the best, as we are imperfect. Our flaws get in the way, [like] greed, folly [and] lust. So my characters are always trying to make the best of themselves, but are held back by their human flaws.