THE dawn of a new year brings hope and expectancy of change - for the better - on a personal level, on the level of society as a whole and the world at large. Changes have certainly come about in the Archdiocese Of Singapore. New postings affecting nearly half of the clergy were announced recently. Only a few of these have already taken effect as of 1 January 2002. The rest will take effect after the Lunar New Year celebrations.
Changes have been made as far as personnel are concerned and changes will be seen in the areas of responsibility that have been affected by these changes - if nothing else, new faces will be seen and new voices heard.
Changes were necessary for a renewal of the archdiocese and as a new year dawns the Church in Singapore looks forward with hope and expectency of change - for the better. One must, however, not confuse changes with change! Changes are very easy to effect - at least relatively so. Change is much more difficult to achieve - real change, and change for the better, that is!
As far as the Church is concerned, it’s mission has never changed and will never change. Indeed, the Church IS mission, as the Second Vatican Council pointed out nearly 40 years ago, when it was called to initiate change in the Church. Pope John XXIII was credited then with throwing open the windows of the Church to allow the winds of change to blow through. Forty years later, one cannot but wonder how much real change has actually taken place.
Of course there have been cosmetic changes. Most would cite the use of the vernacular in the Liturgy and other such equally cosmetic changes. However, Vatican II did very much more than produce the Constitution On The Sacred Liturgy. Unfortunately, these great documents seem largely to have served to fuel, on the part of scholars, a proliferation of learned tomes which continue to weigh down the shelves of libraries the world over. One would be justified in wondering just how much real change, as envisaged by Vatican II, has really taken place.
Real change for the better can only materialize if attitudes change and attitudes can only change if real convictions are reached about the change that is necessary and the necessity to change. May the transforming Spirit inspire us all!
BY DR (REV) ROBERT P. BALHETCHET