1 Corinthians 9

In an earlier post, Mark mentioned this passage, so I thought I'd just put it up as a reflection piece...:

1 Corinthians 9

The Rights of an Apostle
1Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

3This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4Don't we have the right to food and drink? 5Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas[ a]? 6Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?

7Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? 8Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn't the Law say the same thing? 9For it is written in the Law of Moses: "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." [b] Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 11If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more?

But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. 13Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

15But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast. 16Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 18What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it.

19Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Church sued over 'exorcism'

Church sued over 'exorcism'

Woman claims damages for trauma of alleged exorcism by two priests and helpers at Novena Church

Wednesday • August 30, 2006

— Channel NewsAsia

NOVENA Church, two priests and seven helpers are being sued for an alleged act of exorcism, in an incident believed to have taken place two years ago.

Ms Amutha Valli Krishnan, 50, an athlete in the 1980s, claimed that attempts to exorcise her later led to chronic post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. A writ of summons was served last Thursday.

In the writ, Ms Amutha Valli claimed that on August 10, 2004, she went to Novena Church to pray with her son, daughter and a close friend. She fainted while she was there.

She is alleging that two priests from the church, Father Simon Tan and Father Jacob Ong, claimed she had been possessed by a spirit, and then performed an act of exorcism, helped by seven others.

The ritual is said to have lasted two-and-a-half hours, during which time Ms Amutha Valli claimed she had resisted furiously. She claimed she was strangled, pinned down and verbally abused.

When contacted, Father Tan claimed Ms Amutha Valli did not faint in church. In fact, he said, she had walked in asking for help, saying she was possessed.

Father Tan also denied any act of exorcism. He said he, Father Ong and seven helpers only said prayers over her.

Ms Amutha Valli's claims against the defendants include trespass, assault, false imprisonment and negligence. She is also asking for damages for loss of income and injuries.

Mr Suppiah Jeyabal, her husband, said: "Before, she was an athlete and ... a very tough person, you know, who (liked) to exercise; she must run and exercise. She also used to coach children — a very tough and active person.

"But now, she's more like a vegetable."

A medical report by a Changi General Hospital psychiatrist states that Ms Amutha Valli's symptoms — which are persistent, severe and extremely disabling —- are a direct result of the traumatic incident she experienced at the church.

According to the report, this has affected her ability to cope with self-care, demands at home and relationships with family members. The doctor added that she would require long-term treatment and follow-up, and is unlikely to fully recover.

Ms Amutha Valli's lawyer said it is still too early to comment, but he believed this is the first such case in Singapore.

The lawyer for the defendants says his clients deny liability and will file their defence by Sept 16. The civil suit is estimated to cost at least $1 million.

Just incidentally, last Sunday's papers quoted a Novena priest describing an exorcism in which a very shy girl suddenly having immense strength. Are priests allowed to share such things?

Back to this case, the Church takes exorcisms extremely seriously, so I doubt that the priests would have performed an exorcism so wantonly. Also, I don't see any reason that the priests should lie. However, there is enough evidence to say that something happened, and that this lady suffered for it. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. Did the priests do something wrongly? Is this women a pathelogical liar? Will people be afraid to go the Novena Church now?

With the Catholic Church being in the public limelight yet again, I do hope that we do nothing to affect our public image negatively, and I do hope that we actually put a positive light to this sorry incident. It is times like this where I wonder if the church should have a full time publicist. I hope that the evidence reassures the public that we do not abuse and exorcise people like so, and I also hope that the women receives fair recourse and all the help that she needs. Even if the church wins this case, which it should I think, it must be careful not to come across as having condemned this women as a madwomen and putting her down just as a liar.

In my view, the church has not given a good account of itself in the public eye in recent times. There was the vague response to the tsunami. There was silence on the Nguyen (btw, there is another drug trafficker due for execution) and casino issues when other churches were more clear on their stances. The Da Vinci Code has surely damaged some opinion, and the Joaquim Kang case got a lot of publicity, but scarcely a squeak from the church. Through it all, I do feel that a normal person will just be that slight bit less inclined to find out about the church and know Christ through all the negative perceptions in the public eye. To do justice to our faith, we need to project a good impression of our faith.

Why do our young men choose to go overseas to become priests?

Nelsoh Quah, in the Sept 3rd issue of the Catholic News asks:

... Some pertinent questions which have been recurring in the minds of many Catholics are: Why do our young men today choose to make personal sacrifices to go overseas and become religious society priests? Why are they not interested in going to the local seminary and becoming diocesan priests?

Perhaps, it is time for the local chuch authority and some relevant organization to do some soul-searching to search for the right answers. Catholics should pray that the Lord of the Harvest will reveal the answers to them.
Of course, a very easy answer would be that God is calling them overseas and not here, and maybe because they feel blessed to live in Singapore and want to serve elsewhere. However, Mr Quah is not really hiding the fact that he knows what the real reason is. It is that the archodiocese is not being professional enough and thus not attracting the right people...

Please do not respond if you don't know the meaning of constructive criticism.

Websites of the Catholic Church

The Holy See

Veritas! The Official Website of the Archdiocese of Singapore

St. Bernadette

The Redemptorists/Novena Church

Church of Holy Family

Church of Holy Trinity

Our Lady of Perpetual Succour

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Ignatius

St Mary of the Angels

Church of the Holy Cross

Christ the King

Our Lady Star of the Sea

St. Anthony

Holy Spirt

St. Joseph's Bukit Timah

Risen Christ

St. Francis Xavier

Immaculate Heart of Mary

St. Anne's Church

Feast of St Bartholomew

Feast of St Bartholomew
Mass in Latin with Gregorian Chant
Church of St Teresa
510 Kampong Bahru Road
Thur 24 Aug 2006, 8pm

Celebrant: Fr rene Nicholas

*Parallel Latin-English translations provided
For enquiries, please call John Goh at 97386572
Organised by:
Schola Cantorum Sancti Gregorii Magni
Archdiocesan Liturgy Music Committee

The Catholic View on The Death Penalty (?)

Is someone able and willing to enlighten me on what exactly is the the Catholic Church's stand on the death penalty, specifically with relation to Singapore? What should an ordinary Catholic here understand of the Singaporean laws on the death penalty?

As I currently understand it, we are supposed to be in opposition to the death penalty, chiefly because life is God given and should not be man-taken. Yet, as some Catholic lawyers here have pointed out, the Church is not opposed to the death penalty. This is presumably because some evil men (PC:'persons'; e.g. serial murderers) deserve the death penalty. So, what is the ordinary Catholic to think of it? Would a fair statement be: "let's just leave it to the lawyers and theologians to think about; It's none of our business"?

Sociologically and politically, it seems that the local church is not willing to act on this issue because there are more important social issues to cover (such as poverty and raising funds for a new church). It seems like more good can be achieved by avoiding certain topics that are deemed too 'sensitive' or 'complex'.

Please feel free to add to or correct what I have expressed here, which is a purely personal and unresearched opinion.