DECEMBER 13, 2015, Vol 65, No 25

Q: Why are there evil spirits? One would have thought that God, with His infinite goodness, wisdom and foresight, would not create anything that would become evil. Now that they exist, why doesn’t God wipe them out? - Anthony Oei

A: This is a good but rather complex question. Firstly, I am assuming that by “evil spirits” you are referring to the malevolent and demonic spirits that Jesus confronted when he exorcised the possessed people in the time of His earthly ministry. Though you may not be referring to the presence of sin and evil in the world, these are actually very much related, and they will be dealt with together.

Secondly, your question carries with it an assumption that the notion of God necessarily abrogates any existence of sin or evil, based on the fact that God should not and must not tolerate any existence of evil or anything that is contrary to His goodness.

This second assumption is thorny because this understanding of God does not take into account the great gift of free will that he has given to all human persons. If God is love, and scripture tells us that He is (1 John 4:8), then for love to be true and freely given, it has to necessarily include the possibility of it being rejected and unreturned.

St Thomas Aquinas’ definition of love puts this in a nutshell: Love is willing the good of the other as other.

In this respect, God’s love, which is the basis of creation, necessarily includes the possibility of a turning away from the goodness that is willed by Him for His creation. Lucifer’s rebellion against God is a clear example of this. Evil and sin (which is essentially the effect of evil) are thus the result of the ongoing work of evil spirits. So, in speaking about “evil spirits”, we are referring to evil spirits and their sin effects.
Panellists sharing about their lives in the working world. From left: Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, Ms Audrey Tan, Ms Natasha Kwan, Pastor Barney Lau, Ms Trillion So, Mr Lance Ng and Mr Bernard Lim. Photos: MARK ORTEGA, VINCENT CHIA Panellists sharing about their lives in the working world. From left: Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, Ms Audrey Tan, Ms Natasha Kwan, Pastor Barney Lau, Ms Trillion So, Mr Lance Ng and Mr Bernard Lim. Photos: MARK ORTEGA, VINCENT CHIA Participants of a recent Christ@Work 2015 Conference were challenged to let their lives be defined by action and a personal relationship with God.

The conference, featuring speakers such as Mr Philip Ng, CEO of Far East Organisation and Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers from the US, had the theme Your Pursuit of Happiness at Work, and focused on finding one’s spiritual purpose and mission in the workplace.

The day-long conference, organised by the Catholic Business Network (CBN), was held on Nov 28 at Catholic Junior College and marked the 10th anniversary of the Christ@work series since its inauguration in 2005.

The event which culminated in a Mass celebrated by Archbishop William Goh, attracted about 700 people including many Catholic business leaders.

Deacon Burke-Sivers from Portland, Oregon, who was the first keynote speaker in 2005, reprised his role again and reminded the audience to seek “true joy” as opposed to “material happiness”.
Rosaries, candles and crucifixes were among the items on sale at the Church of St Vincent de Paul where the World AIDS Day Mass was held.Rosaries, candles and crucifixes were among the items on sale at the Church of St Vincent de Paul where the World AIDS Day Mass was held.
Held annually around the world on Dec 1, this year’s World AIDS Day Mass was celebrated at the Church of St Vincent de Paul.

Among the 1,000 people who attended the Mass on Nov 29 were members and volunteers of Catholic AIDS Response Effort (CARE) and residents from the shelter home operated by the charity.

The event was organised by CARE, a Catholic Charity under Caritas Singapore, which cares for and supports people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs).

In his homily, CARE spiritual director Fr Kenson Koh reminded Catholics to be watchful.

In the context of HIV/AIDS, Catholics need to root out the causes of the disease but at the same time watch that they do not fall victim to the common and sinful response of discrimination and prejudice.
Assoc Prof Kenneth Poon speaking at the Living with Autism Spectrum Disorder Symposium on Nov 14.Assoc Prof Kenneth Poon speaking at the Living with Autism Spectrum Disorder Symposium on Nov 14.

More than 300 parents, professionals, teachers and volunteers attended a symposium titled Living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) on Nov 14 at Agape Village in Toa Payoh.

The event, organised by the Church of the Holy Spirit, sought to empower participants with information and support in their journey with their children with ASD.

ASD is a lifelong condition which affects at least one in 100 individuals in the way they interact with others both socially and communicatively. Individuals with ASD also show a repetitive pattern of behaviours, activities, and interests.

ASD affects individuals differently. Some may have no speech and require high levels of care while others may attain high levels of academic achievement.

During the symposium, Assoc Prof Kenneth Poon from the National Institute of Education provided a concise overview of ASD, emphasising that the spectrum nature of the disorder means that every individual with ASD is unique.


THE BIG WALK: Msgr Philip Heng, Vicar General of Inter-religious Dialogue, (centre), together with nine other Catholics, formed a group for the SG50 Jubilee Big Walk on Nov 29.

The Catholic Church in Singapore, together with other religions, was invited to join at the starting point with other interfaith and intercultural organisations to walk together in unity.

The 5-km walk took participants through a trail that connected more than 20 historic locations within the Civic District and Marina Bay areas.

The Catholic group comprised participants encompassing three generations from six parishes and from various ministries.