The entry of the Catholic Church once more into the volatile, contentious and highly divisive anti government crusade led by an incredulous foreign funded Bersih, raises once more the unwelcome spectre of  interference with the doctrine of the division of church and state. More dangerously Bishop Bernard Paul’s moronic, partisan comments recently, enlivens the argument in favour of a theocracy to replace the existing secular democracy which Malaysia is. 

The separation of powers doctrine and more importantly the injection of theocratic principles into a political debate in a secular though fragile state as Malaysia is, appears lost on the representatives of a the Vatican once more. They appear bent on demolishing the separation of church and state doctrine, courting controversy wherever they go.

Thus far although the minority state based party PAS (Parti Islam) in Malaysia has been vociferously advancing the causes of an Islamic theocracy with limited success, Christians like Bishop Bernard Paul pushing religion into the mix, appear not only to provide that momentum to Muslims seeking a theocracy where little momentum existed before. They also appear to endorse the idea of religion in politics.

Most of PAS’s successes in advancing their idea of an Islamic theocracy has been the result of incitement in that direction by an opportunistic, divisive and reckless opposition coalition. Amongst them is the Roman Catholic and Evangelical Churches seeking to shore up the dwindling political resources of their backers and allies in the Pakatan, the PKR and Bersih.

Take the Allah (Catholic Herald) affair, Lina Joy, the Indira Gandhi vs Syariah where elements of the churches had become so deeply involved in the defiant promotion of a religious agenda in breach of a constitutional prohibition. Then consider the revelation more recently that the Evangelical churches like those of Hannah Yeoh’s and the Assemblies of God have been aggressively and openly converting Muslims migrants in Sabah to Christianity with foreign and domestic money. Once more this action is a direct violation of a constitutional prohibition against converting Muslims or proselytising to them.

Bishop Bernard’s Paul’s backing of Bersih points to the church’s support for a one sided crusade based on unsubstantiated claims of corruption, political and financial misconduct attributed by Bersih to the current Barisan Nasional government. His provocative incendiary remarks blur the lines of division between church and state and join the Bersih call for an undemocratic over throw of government.

Bersih’s core creed is the overthrow of a democratically elected government. Bishop Paul’s is a direct ‘call to arms’ by a highly influential member of a highly influential though controversial representative of a foreign state, the Vatican in Malaysia.


The Bishop Bernard Paul’s comments necessarily invite his opponents to scrutinize his own church and clergy when he attacks government on that self-righteous rickety Bersih platform. Thus far revelations of systemic and systematic sexual and financial abuses within the Catholic church by its clergy has avoided scrutiny in countries like Malaysia. Not anymore from this latest outburst by a self righteous Catholic church.

Let him that is without sin cast the first stone”. From the New Testament comes a lesson the Bishop may wish to familiarize himself with before embarking on his war against a democratically elected government threatening another Syria like situation.

The closure of the preparatory seminary (Cardign House) in Bukit Nanas in the late 1960’s was directly the result of reports of widespread sexual abuse against young men by a predatory Catholic priest, the notorious late Father Joseph Cecil Reutens.

Of the 30 or so boarders, mainly lower secondary school students at St. John’s Institution in Kuala Lumpur, at least 4 suicides are known to have occurred subsequent to the former residents leaving Cardign House. Their deaths occurred after the closure of Cardign House.

There are many more such reported events though they are the result of abuse in other Catholic institutions such as schools, boarding houses and other organizations run by the Church. The church through its clergy were brutal, cruel, oppressive, abusive, intolerant especially of the poor and weak they were meant to protect in God’s name.

Though these suicides may not be directly attributed to what occurred to the victims under the ‘care’ of, in the case of Cardign house, the late Fr. Joseph Cecil Reutens, the pattern of suicides appear to be consistent with that recorded trail of abuse leading to dysfunctional lives, eventually leading to suicide by victims of predatory sexual abuse elsewhere in the world.

The connection between abuse and victims and suicides invariably leading to misconduct at the hands of Catholic/ Christian institutions worldwide is eerily similar. The Evangelicals are not excluded from accusation of misconduct or being part of this same culture of evil. Far from it. Abuse amongst the laity of Evangelicals is known to be widespread today in Malaysia and Singapore, Indonesia and in Indo China as it was decades ago under the colonials.


There are at least half a dozen other priests and Catholic brothers who have also been identified as sexual predators and abusers by their victims whose actions are under investigation. Some are still living. One at last count was at a Church in Taiping in Malaysia. Another a former Pulau Tikus seminary supervisor is in retirement whilst his predatory brother has since passed on and another two still serve actively as priests. Another still went from being a de La Salle brother to a fully ordained priest.

Their victims still find it difficult for one reason or the other to come forward to fully testify to what occurred to them at the hands of these sexual predators.

The taboo of discussing sex and any misconduct by clergy accounts for much of the reticence on the part of victims to come forward. It is very much a cultural thing shrouded in the very tribal mindset with which silence against outsiders is more than just ritualistic. It is the Omerta of religion.

The publicity and the shame victims in such situations often have to endure is another reason for the ‘silence of these lambs’.

In the 1960’s (and before) the prevailing wisdom was that priests and nuns were infallible. The Catholics and other Christians many of whom were from very traditional backgrounds and their attitudes then towards the clergy and church was such that it was a greater offence to point a finger at the house of God and his representatives on earth, than it was to endure virtuously like a martyr in silence what had occurred.

A generation or two later and the widespread publicity given to these events within the church is universal knowledge. It is widely accepted as being criminal. The crime of cover ups being recognized in law meant the protection against that perception of infallibility and invincibility has now altogether evaporated or at least diminished to the extent, the crimes of the Churches can now be laid bare at the feet of the world and that justice can and now must be done.


Apart from the sexual predatory misconduct of the Churches there are those financial crimes within them , especially the Catholics and Evangelical movements whose status as ‘Charitable’ trusts and foundations have provided them with a degree of protection against independent external audits and scrutiny.

There have been numerous reports by Filipino and East Timorese maids about sexual misconduct not only by their employers against them, but also of sexual impropriety and misconduct against them by the priests to whom they go and confess to each week in church in search of protection and consolation.

One of the priests engaged in this category of sexual abuse and predatory behaviour is known to work very closely with a ‘Catholic social action group’ supposedly helping maids and connected at one time to the NGO Tenaganita based in KL.

Similar complaints have been made against Evangelical ministries who first rob their victims by the practice of collecting tithes from them, extracting it from their meagre wages as a pre condition to admission to these churches has arisen over the years.

These churches harvest then admit vulnerable souls like domestic maids, many from Christian countries of East Timor and the Philippines, whilst at the same time abusing them financially and physically, exploiting their services. 

In a number of recorded cases they end up introducing these vulnerable girls to arranged church marriages within the church in order for them to be able to remain in Malaysia as spouses.

The Churches and schools under the governance of people like the much revered late Dominic Vendargon were responsible for a significant amount of financial misconduct, graft, preferential treatment of relatives and friends where contracts, scholarships, financial relief and other ‘charitable’ purposes and objects of the church was concerned.

The practice after the demise of Bishop Vendargon endures to this day in his church as it does on an equally grand scale with the Evangelical churches in Malaysia.


Perhaps the Very Reverend Bishop Bernard Paul ought to think very carefully before he pours oil onto a very dangerous fire which will eventually consume him and his Church and people like him.

There is a right to criticize government in a democracy. But there is no right to incite racial hatred which is the purpose and the clear objectives of a movement like Bersih.

The Bersih movement has to date not produced an iota of admissible evidence to support their many far fetched claims to government ‘corruption’ something they themselves by definition are guilty of. Bersih  has failed to identify instances of ‘elections that are not ‘free and fair’ whilst enjoying the benefits of elections that are ‘not free and fair’ with their colleagues who sit in 5 states in which they the Bersih supported opposition won government.

The platform on which Bishop Bernard Paul stands is very rickety and shakey. He ought to be mindful of the old biblical verse “ render unto Cesar what is Cesar’s and unto God what is God’s”.

There is however nothing that will stop the current international lobbying for an investigation into Christian and Catholic Churches in relation to their sexual and financial misconduct in Malaysia and Singapore.  

Malaysia’s government has thus far resisted calls for inquiries such as a Royal Commission into the misconduct of the Catholic and the US inspired Evangelical Churches in Malaysia.


The late Lee Kuan Yew was less tolerant of philandering priests disguised as advocates of good causes (Marxism) when he outed Fr. Edgar D’Souza and his paramour in the 1980’s. No one believed the late Lee Kuan Yew then.

What Bishop Paul needs to also know that in that incident in the 1970’s which saw Fr. D’Souza leave the church, the Vatican out of political convenience betrayed their priests in Singapore.

Bishop Gregory Yong the Catholic delegate to a meeting with the Pope’s secretary and Lee Kuan Yew did a ‘volte face’ turned against his own priests when the secretary to the Pope then stationed in Bangkok arrived at the secretly convened meeting with Lee Kuan Yew. The Vatican’s representative surprised the Singapore Bishop Yong and priests in his company and withdrew any support for their crusades against the Singapore government.

The situation with that Catholic group had far more merit in the circumstances where their causes were concerned than that of Ambiga Srinivasan and her captive within the Catholic church Bishop Bernard Paul.

Yuri Bezmenov the former Soviet KGB defector and head of their foreign intelligence psychological sabotage units in charge of their social indoctrination programmes once referred to people like Ambiga Srinivasan, Mariah Chin Abdullah and Cynthia Gabriel and this Bishop Bernard Paul (although not them personally), “useful idiots”.

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