On 4 February 2019, the Chancery issued Chancery Notice CHN/CN/2019/003 seeking information regarding a man named Benjamin Ho, who had claimed to be a Catholic priest and was conducting ministry in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore.
Ho’s ministry was not authorised in the Archdiocese as he was not incardinated here and had not applied for a Statement of Suitability to Minister as a cleric. Ho also did not come under any local church entity which could ensure that he was suitable to teach the Catholic faith as a lay person.
Having met Ho in person and having conducted further inquiry, the Chancery wishes to inform the faithful of the following.
- Benjamin Ho was ordained illicitly by the late Bishop Jacobus Xie, Bishop of Funing/ Mindong, Fujian, People’s Republic of China, on 23 November 2003. Bishop Xie, who had been of an advanced age, later admitted to the Head of the Holy See’s Study Mission in Hong Kong that Ho had “duped” him into the ordination.
- Bishop Xie had ordained Ho in violation of canonical requirements for ordination to the priesthood. These included a lack of dimissorial letters (cann. 1015- 1016), failure to complete seminary studies (can. 1032 §1), a lack of required documentation prior to ordination (can. 1050- 1051) and the failure to observe an interval of at least six months between the diaconate and the priesthood (can. 1031).
- Following his illicit ordination, Ho was not incardinated into any diocese nor subject to any church governance structures. He had however gained the trust of some of the faithful in Singapore, who sought him out for sacramental ministry such as anointing of the sick and celebrating Mass.
- During his meeting with the Chancery, Ho had advised the Chancery that he no longer wished to be a Catholic priest.
The faithful in Singapore are advised not to participate in or support Benjamin Ho’s current or future ministry. He is not recognised as a Catholic priest in good standing due to the irregular circumstances of his ordination. The faithful are also reminded of the need to remain attentive about the credentials of all foreign and local ministers in Singapore and their suitability for ministry.
If they are unsure of a cleric or lay person’s suitability to minister or preach the faith, the clergy and the laity are invited to contact the Chancery at 6336 9408 or firstname.lastname@example.org to clarify the status of the minister in question.
Fr. John-Paul Tan OFM, JCL
Chancery of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore
# 07-01 Catholic Centre, 55 Waterloo Street, Singapore 187954