Archbishop of S'pore apologises after member of Catholic order jailed for sexual acts with 2 teen boys

"Like many of you, I am dismayed, shocked, and ashamed."

Syahindah Ishak | May 05, 2022, 04:34 PM

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The leader of Singapore's Catholic Church, Archbishop William Goh, apologised on behalf of the church on May 5 for the sexual offences committed by a prominent figure in the Catholic community.

Jailed for five years

The accused person, a Singaporean man in his 60s who was not identified, pleaded guilty to one charge of carnal intercourse against the order of nature and one charge under the Children and Young Persons Act.

Two other charges were taken into consideration during his sentencing.

He was eventually sentenced to five years' jail for his offences, which he had committed more than 15 years ago.

Archbishop Goh: "I am dismayed, shocked and ashamed."

In a letter posted on the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore website, Goh said he was "dismayed, shocked, and ashamed" when he learnt of the case involving the member the church.

"It is with great sadness and regret that we have learnt of the case involving a member of our Church – who has committed sexual crimes against young people.


Some of us are confused as to what actually took place and how this could have happened."

"I humbly apologise on behalf of the Church"

Goh apologised on behalf of the church for the member's offences.

"As Archbishop and leader of the Catholic Community in Singapore, I humbly apologise on behalf of the Church.

My heartfelt sympathy to those who have suffered on account of this crime. I pray that they will find healing and closure, and we journey with them as a Church through this pain. May justice be rendered accordingly."

Goh also assured the Catholic community in Singapore that the Archdiocese "takes very seriously the provision of a safe environment, especially where children and young persons are present".

Professional Standards Office

Goh also mentioned the Professional Standards Office (PSO) that was established in 2011 to protect the interests of the vulnerable in the community.

The PSO is made up of professionals comprising senior counsels, ex-district judges, senior lawyers, legally trained persons, psychologists and people in senior management, not all of whom are Catholics.

The PSO also operates independently in accordance with the laws of the land, as well as the dictates of canon law, without any interference from the hierarchy of the church.

"To further enhance the impartiality of the PSO, with effect from 2018, it has been headed by a lay person, a non-cleric," said Goh.

Goh also said the PSO "regularly reviews its protocols to provide a safe environment".

Appealed for the community to be united in prayer

Goh then appealed to the Catholic community to "be united in prayer" and to "sincerely seek the mercy and healing of our God".

"The cold reality of having an incident like this on our shores is sobering. Many good Church leaders have sacrificed much to remain faithful to the gospel and have worked hard to instil the values of our Catholic faith in the young. A cloud of suspicion now hangs over those who have given themselves to live a life of service."

Wake-up call

Goh also asked for this incident to be a "wake-up call" for the Catholic community in Singapore.

He said:

"Let this incident be a wake-up call for us all to take our spiritual life seriously and be awakened from a complacent faith. Conversion is required of the entire Church. We must remember that the sins of one will affect others as well.

It is a timely reminder for us to renew our faith, find healing in forgiveness and in God’s mercy, and seek reconciliation with our wounded brothers and sisters by taking the call to conversion of life seriously.

Finally, please pray as well for our Church leaders, priests, religious and Church workers to be faithful to the responsibilities placed on them so that they can be true witnesses to the Faith, living exemplary lives for our young to emulate. Pray also for me, that I will have the wisdom and courage to lead the Church after the heart of the Good Shepherd."

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Top images from archie.will/Instagram.