Saturday, April 01, 2006

"Culturerization" in the church

Church must lead not follow the crowd

I refer to the letter by Peter Wong, “Is ancestral worship necessary during Chinese New Year Mass” (Herald,March 19).

I must congratulate him for having the courage to voice his opposition to ancestral worship during mass and also being considerate enough to take into account the feelings of the non-Chinese among the congregation.

Of late the Catholic Church has begun to accommodate the various cultures into its system of worship such the ancestral worship and the Ponggal celebration. This may be alright in a homogenous society but in a multiracial society like Malaysia, it would only divide the various ethnic groups.

The national policies have already segregated us by race and religion and by adopting the so called “culturisation”,the church would only make this segregation worse.

The Church must take the lead to educate the congregation in fostering mutual love and unity among its members of differing ethnicity,and not succumb to pressures from any group to accept rituals and practices for the sake of popularity. If it is absolutely necessary to have these ceremonies, then as Peter Wong suggests, conduct the ceremony in the privacy of your own home.

As for ancestral worship is concerned, it would be better for us to take care of our parents and elders when they are alive on earth, and not resort to rituals and prayers to show our love and respect after their death.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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