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Opposition member Lim Tean removes ‘out of context’ video of archbishop’s sermon upon urging by Catholic Church

SINGAPORE — The Catholic Church in Singapore has urged those who have circulated and shared a doctored video of a sermon by Archbishop William Goh to refrain from doing so, which has prompted lawyer Lim Tean to take down the video from his Facebook account.

Mr Lim Tean (pictured), who is the chief of opposition political party Peoples Voice, said that he would remove the video “out of respect for the wish of the Catholic Church”.

Mr Lim Tean (pictured), who is the chief of opposition political party Peoples Voice, said that he would remove the video “out of respect for the wish of the Catholic Church”.

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SINGAPORE — The Catholic Church in Singapore has urged those who have circulated and shared a doctored video of a sermon by Archbishop William Goh to refrain from doing so, which has prompted lawyer Lim Tean to take down the video from his Facebook account.

Mr Lim, who is the chief of opposition political party Peoples Voice, learnt about the archbishop’s statement when TODAY approached him on Tuesday (June 1). He said that he would remove the video, which he had shared last Saturday, “out of respect for the wish of the Catholic Church”. 

The video was a recording of a sermon on leadership that Archbishop Goh, the head of the Roman Catholic Church here, had delivered in July last year. In it, he speaks about how a true leader is not motivated by rewards and riches but by his or her service to the people. 

When Mr Lim shared it, the video also included a doctored label saying “Appropriate Sermon For PAP (People’s Action Party) Cabinet”. 

Mr Lim said that he had received the doctored video from someone else and had not edited it or added to it himself. Before Mr Lim’s post was removed on Tuesday, TODAY saw that it had garnered at least 700 likes on his Facebook account. 

The Catholic Church noted that the video had been uploaded on at least one Facebook account and circulated on WhatsApp by others.

It said in an online statement that the addition of the label to the video “has caused upset and concern to the Church and its followers as the doctored label leads to a misrepresentation of the intent and thrust of the homily”.

The Church added that it hopes respect is given to such religious material and stressed that the Church is non-partisan. 

“The Church does not practise partisan politics. We therefore ask all parties concerned to refrain from doctoring the Church’s videos or images, stop the distribution, and remove such content from their social media accounts or postings.” 

Mr Lim, who had formerly attended Montfort Junior School and Secondary School, told TODAY: “This video was sent to me on May 29 by a fellow Montfortian. I posted the video on my Facebook as I received it. I did not edit any part of it or add to it."

Both schools were started by missionary Catholic priests from France who came to Singapore.

“I posted it because I think it contains a very valuable message on leadership whatever the sphere a leader may be involved in — whether it be in religion, politics, business or otherwise,” Mr Lim added. 

“I have the greatest respect for the Catholic Church and Archbishop William Goh and I used to be a regular attendant at his Friday teachings at the Catholic seminary opposite the Church of Nativity, before his elevation to archbishop of Singapore.”

Mr Lim was referring to the former St Francis Xavier Minor Seminary when it was established in 1925 near the grounds of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Hougang. It later became a retreat centre before it was renamed Catholic Spirituality Centre in 2004. Reverend Father Goh, who was not yet archbishop then, served as a spiritual director there until 2013. 

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lim tean Catholic Church archbishop sermon social media video

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