(LifeSiteNews) — A Singapore prelate recently announced as a cardinal by Pope Francis, has stated that “everybody must somehow be embraced by the Church,” including those who are “divorced” and “LGBTQ.”
Speaking to Vatican News July 4, Cardinal-elect William Goh outlined his views on the Catholic Church, several weeks before he is due to received his red hat in the consistory of August 27, along with 20 other new cardinals.
Referencing the widespread numbers of “highly educated” people in Singapore, Goh noted that “people here have high expectations of priests, not just only in terms of their moral life, but in terms of their preaching and teaching.”
He also praised the “religious harmony” which exists in Singapore, saying that due to the heavy penalties for insulting other religions – including jail terms – “nobody insults the Catholics here.”
A key part of his interview came when Cardinal-elect Goh singled out aspects of Pope Francis’ pontificate which had stuck out to him. Goh highlighted Francis’ “compassion and inclusivity,” adding that “I think what the Church needs today is really compassion.”
Goh also stated that clerics, “especially priests and religious,” needed to show “more compassion for people who are weak, who are not able to live up to the teachings of the Church.”
Such “compassion” could be in the form of walking along a “journey with them” in the manner Francis proposes, “instead of being judgmental.”
“We are not perfect either,” said Goh, expanding on his call for compassion by urging a “realistic” interpretation of the Gospel.
I think the Gospel is the ideal of course. We cannot compromise the values of the Gospel, but at the same time we need to be realistic. We need to be compassionate, to feel with those who are struggling to live up to their faith.
“I like the Holy Father’s emphasis on compassion and inclusivity,” said Goh, before emphasizing this inclusion for the divorced and LGBT groups. “Everybody must somehow be embraced by the Church, whether those who are divorced, those who are LGBTQ, those who are on the peripheries, the poor. And I think this is what the Church is all about.”
Past opposition to LGBT lobby
Goh has previously faced backlash from the LGBT movement for comments he made opposing homosexuality. In a 2018 pastoral letter, Goh opposed a new law repealing the criminalization of homosexuality.
“By accepting homosexual acts as a social norm, the dreadful consequences for the stability of our families, the well-being of our children, and the risks to the common good will be long-term and irreversible,” he wrote:
until and unless Parliament puts in place a formulation that more perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the law, guaranteeing the protection of the rights of the majority who favor the traditional family, and that no further demands be made to legalize same-sex unions, adoption of babies by same-sex couples, surrogacy, or to criminalize those who do not support the homosexual lifestyle, I am of the view that S377A should not be repealed under the present circumstances.
New cardinal echoing aspects of Synod on Synodality
Cardinal-elect Goh’s highlights of Pope Francis’ pontificate echo the key components of the current Synod on Synodality. The vademecum (handbook) for the multi-year event directs that dioceses should seek “maximum inclusion and participation, reaching out to involve the greatest number of people possible, and especially those on the periphery who are often excluded and forgotten.” (Emphasis original)
In addition to a great emphasis on “listening, dialogue,” the planned purpose for the Synod involves “sharing … conversion … being inclusive … journeying together … interreligious dialogue …” as well as addressing the “virus of self-sufficiency” and the “scourge of clericalism.”
However, such an emphasis on elements close to Pope Francis’ heart – synodality and “inclusivity” – are not surprising from Cardinal-elect Goh. Among his fellow prelates also due to be made cardinals at the end of August are a number of prominent advocates of LGBT ideology, female ordination, and opponents of the Church’s Tradition.