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Archbishop Murphy Pakiam saddened by protests

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Archbishop Emeritus Murphy Pakiam says he finds solace in seeing Malaysians of all ethnic backgrounds and religious affiliations standing up and coming forward for the cause of justice and peace.

 protestors burn an effigy of Catholic Protesters burn an effigy of Herald editor Fr Lawrence Andrew - Photograph: The Malaysian Insider
Protestors burn an effigy of Herald editor Fr Lawrence Andrew – Photograph: The Malaysian Insider

My dear people in the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur,

Greetings of peace to you.

Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you (Deuteronomy 16:20).

The Catholic Church has been in the forefront of justice and peace. As Malaysians, our actions have always been within our rights as entrenched in the Federal Constitution to practise our faith free from interference and intimidation.

However, I am deeply saddened and aggrieved by recent events involving the use of offensive words and the burning of an effigy of Father Lawrence Andrew (Editor of Herald, The Catholic Weekly), which is tantamount to an attack against the Christian community. It is deplorable that certain groups also wish to organise mega demonstrations and road shows. These insensible actions by groups of persons have caused a great deal of unease, anxiety and even anger among Malaysians.

Furthermore, the endorsement of such actions by certain political leaders and the unexplained silence of others only add fuel to a fire that seems to be spreading uncontrollably. We cannot accept or tolerate any group that promotes division, discord and disharmony in society.

I call upon the Catholic faithful to be strong through these adversities and continue to profess our faith with courage and determination.

I find solace and am heartened to see Malaysians of all races and religious affiliations standing up and coming forward for the cause of justice and peace. I thank God for the presence and support of these people who are contributing to Malaysia being a place where communities can live together peacefully, respecting and even appreciating the religious commonalities as well as differences of each other.

Priests and laity alike are called to promote justice and peace. Therefore, let us stand by and pray for Father Lawrence Andrew and other individuals/groups who are involved in this noble cause. We need to engage and dialogue with like-minded peoples, working towards building bridges and standing up against those who seek to use religion to divide this nation. We must also continue to engage with the authorities and call on them to take appropriate action to prevent further provocative acts of intimidation towards minority communities.

Lastly, we must not forget to pray for our adversaries who have misunderstood our faith, since we all pray to the one true God. Let us pray in our homes, BECs and parishes that those bent on disuniting the peoples of Malaysia, will find the true path of peace. I also call upon the faithful to pray for our leaders, especially our Prime Minister, to stand up with courage and be the leader to unite Malaysians of every race, religion and political affiliation.

May God bless you.

Yours in Christ,

Archbishop Emeritus
Murphy Pakiam
Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur.

19 January 2013

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