Thursday, August 17, 2006

Life-size statues of the Passion of Christ

August 16 2006

Are we really following Christ?

I read with interest your report “Life-size statues of the Passion of Christ for St Anne BM” (Herald July 16).

We are told that the 15 life-size statues of the Passion of Christ,in St.Anne’s Church premises in Bukit Mertajam, costing RM600,000, would enable the pilgrims to have a much more solemn, prayful and spiritual experience. I agree that statues and images can help to enhance our spiritual experience but is it necessary to spend more than half a million ringgit to do that?

Furthermore we have to spend more to maintain them and protect them from vandals.
Most of us would agree that RM600,000 is a very large sum of money which only a small percent of our the population would be able to acquire it in their life time. If one has to have so much money to experience God, then the vast majority of people will never be able experience Him in their lives.

In this context it would be pertinent for us to reflect on why Christ chose to be born in stable and live among the poor and down-trodden? Are we really following Him?

Apparently all the 15 stations are taken up by sponsors in such short time, which goes along way to illustrate the generosity of our fellow Catholics.

Many of us may not be aware that in the same vicinity, the St.Anne’s Dialysis Centre is badly in need of another 4 more machines and the cost of each is about RM50, 000, which is about the same as that of one station of the cross. The lives of so many people, including some of our own priests, depend on the existence of this dialysis centre.

In another development, A.P.Lyon,in his letter “La Salle Brothers College in Penang sold?”(Herald August 13) lamented on the sale of the college for RM97.8 million. Most Catholics, I am sure, would fully share his sentiments on the improper handling and disposal of the church property.

As we are repeatedly reminded through numerous slogans that we are the church then, such church property rightly belongs to all of us, but sadly we have no say in its management and disposal. Most of us only come to know of it from sources other than the church authorities themselves, who should be accountable to community.

This reminds me of the similar situation we are in as Christians in our country. Belonging to the minority group, not only are we denied basic constitutional rights, but our voices too carry no weight in the running of the nation.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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