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Friday, September 05, 2003 

keith's baptism

Someone once called this the "Grand Slam" of sacraments - having your baptism, confirmation and first holy communion in one day. It was a beautiful mass, one I'm sure Keith will remember for a long time. I was baptised when I was barely more than a month old at St. Joseph's Church (Victoria Street). I was confirmed when I was in Secondary Two at Church of the Risen Christ. Looking back, I do think that I was too young.

Fr. Peter Collins alluded (or implied - more neutral - or insinuated - more sinister) to the Church's practice of infant baptism being outmoded. I've had that thought more than once before. No priest in Singapore, at least none that I know, would dare say such things. The Church here and the Church in Singapore seem like two entirely different things. Yes, it's more or less the same mass. But listen to the priests speak here... very different.

This is in part due to politics. The Church in Singapore, I feel, is a product of its environment. Religion and politics in Singapore are so separate that the Church doesn't comment - once again, as far as I know - about issues that affect wider society but are within the purview of our beliefs and practices. Case in point - the employment of homosexuals in the civil service in Singapore. The Anglican Church issued a statement. The Catholic Church was strangely silent. Even if they had a public stand, I know what it would be.

On a side note: I remember reading in the ST Forum page a scathing letter about this employment of homosexuals, and it reeked of prejudice and fear. Sadly, the writer is a Christian, and used many dubious (but standard) 'Christian' arguements about the ethical and moral problems of homosexuality. Ironic that he even said, "Love the sinner, hate the sin". It was quite apparent in the words and tone of the letter that he wasn't practicing one half of his maxim.

Anyway, where was I?

I remember one of my politics lessons; we were talking about colonialism and the role of religion in that. The spread of Christianity by the colonists was not purely because wanted to share their faith. No, Christianity was spread so that the natives would be more pliant. "Turn the cheek"; "blessed are the meek". They shall inherit the earth indeed. I don't believe that missionaries set out to act as a quelling force; they were merely taken advantage of by colonial powers/elites looking for a cheap and easy way to get the natives to do as they pleased.

Hmmm... back to our normal programming. (How did I get from there to here?) All of this is just my opinion.

Keith, congratulations and welcome to the family.


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