Archbishop William Goh: “Evil cannot be overcome by evil.”  Photos: VITA Images

Jared Ng

The Church has gone through ups and downs, yet it still stands.

In a world that is becoming more difficult to live in, look to the cross as the symbol of divine mercy for all humanity. When you do so, there will be love instead of sin, said Archbishop William Goh.

Speaking during the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Archbishop Goh condemned the clerical sex abuse scandals that have hit the Church in other parts of the world and which have brought “tremendous shame and confusion”.

He had called for this special Mass to pray for the healing and purification of the Church.

The evening Mass, held at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd on Sept 14, had a sombre mood with many faithful seen deep in prayer and reflection while others were in tears.

“Church leaders have failed to live up to their fidelity and have harmed the innocent,” he said. “These scandals have not only affected the abuse victims but innocent priests and laypeople as well,” he added.

Nevertheless, he urged for Christian justice to prevail so that there may be “strength, hope and healing grace”. Christian justice is when you forgive those who hurt and heal those who are hurt, he said.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi when he said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,” Archbishop Goh added that “evil cannot be overcome by evil.”

“This is why the Church says ‘no’ to the death penalty. The Church wants healing, forgiveness and reconciliation,” he said.

The faithful praying during Holy Hour after Mass.

However, Archbishop Goh made it clear that this in no way excused the hurts caused by offenders. “Christian justice also demands that the offender is prevented from causing more harm, to stop evil.”

To help offenders in their rehabilitation, prisons cannot be a place of punishment but a place of reflection and growth, he said.

After Mass, there was adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until midnight. The Cathedral remained packed throughout as prayers were offered for the reparation of sins and included the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Litany of the Sacred Heart, Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary and guided reflections by rector Msgr Philip Heng.

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