Sunday 3 July 2011

Bishop Paul Tan calls for a day of prayer on July 8

Catholic Bishop Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing today declared July 8 as a day of prayer in the Melaka-Johor diocese that “a peace based on justice would prevail among Malaysians of all persuasions and beliefs.”

NONE“Like many Malaysians, I view the day of the Bersih march on July 9 with a mixture of trepidation and anticipation,” said the prelate, who is concurrently president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Malaysia.

“I view the situation with trepidation because the forces of reaction may go overboard which may trigger a chain of consequences whose end cannot be visualised at this stage,” he explained.

“Conversely, I see the forces of democratic expression prompted by an imperative whose constitutionality, justice and urgency cannot be denied.”

A tug of conflicting imperatives

Bishop Paul Tan said he is following events closely in the lead-up to July 9 when Bersih, an agglomeration of NGOs pushing for electoral reform, will hold a march for electoral reform in apparent defiance of the authorities' strictures against it.

Christians attend a Sunday service inside a church in Petaling Jaya“This is one of those times when you feel the tug of conflicting imperatives: in this instance, the imperative of public order and tranquility counter-posed by the imperative of justice to the electoral processes that help to guarantee that peace.

“As somebody whose persists in the faith that greater things are wrought by prayer that one can believe, this upcoming situation calls for recourse to precisely that: prayer.

“Accordingly, I call on the Catholic faithful in my diocese, indeed throughout the nation, to devote Friday, July 8, to a day of prayer and contemplation that a peace premised on justice will prevail in our country.”

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