Vincent Wijeysingha was an opposition politician with the SDP and currently a social activist. He has always been a vocal supporter of human rights, LGBT rights, civil liberties, transparency and freedom of speech, expression and assembly.
In response to Archbishop William Goh’s statement on the Church’s position on the family, Vincent wrote that he was sexually harrassed by a priest when he was 15:
“When I was fifteen, I came into unfortunate contact with a priest who would engage me in play wrestling and attempt to touch my crotch in the process. He once brought me to his bedroom and took a stack of pornographic magazines from his wardrobe to show me….I haven’t till now disclosed this sorry incident publicly. It never seemed momentous and so far as I’m aware, it didn’t damage me. But Archbishop William Goh’s pronouncements this weekend prompted me to.”
For someone who prides himself as a social worker, an advocate of rights and transparency, Vincent comes across as being irresponsible and unfair when he attacks the Catholic Church via an unsubstantiated allegation.
If he was indeed sexually harassed, he should name the priest involve, bring it to the attention of the Catholic Church, or the authorities, and not name-shame the Church just because he does not agree with what the Archbishop has said about the LGBT community.
Next, Vincent also wrote:
“Until then, I will take no moral instruction from those who seek to police my bedroom while turning a blind eye to the priests who lured little boys and little girls into theirs, to rape and bugger them with the connivance and the complicity of the episcopacy. The Catholic leadership has remained silent on the real problems that face our world. Today, it has no authority whatsoever, moral or otherwise, to comment on whom I can and cannot love.”
First, Vincent is generalising all that is bad about the Catholic Church and leaving out the good stuff the Church has done; helping the less fortunate and disabled, foreign workers, family issues etc. The Church is not only about the sex scandals. Yes, there has been problems, but surely the Church is more than that.
Second, it is gross misrepresentation to say that the Catholic Church has remained silent on the real problems of our world. In fact, with its limited financial resources, the Catholics are one the most active in tackling societal problems of our modern world. Pregnancy and family counselling, marriage preparation, shelter for women, AIDS patient care, welfare services, prison ministry, pastoral care in hospitals and many many more.
So, such a statement from Vincent WIjeysingha – someone who had expressed his desire to lead Singaporeans, to lead civil society, to make Singapore a more open and democratic place – is utterly disappointing.