VINCENT WIJEYSINGHA IS A LIAR

Dr Vincent Wijeysingha made The New Paper's (TNP) headlines 2 days ago when it revealed part of a Facebook post by him, alleging he was molested by a priest when he was 15. I was extremely shocked by such a stunning allegation and decided it would be better to set aside TNP's report, which usually isn't favourable to opposition politicians (present and former) and read the (following) full FB note by him:
 
 
Whatever reservations or sympathy I had on him being a victim of the hideous crime of molest was quickly evaporated when I read the note. I can only describe it as a vile, contemptuous diatribe filled with so much bile, half-truths, unsubstantiated allegations and vicious self opinion designed to damage the Catholic Church here, and to cast improper and unwarranted aspersions against the Church and the Catholic faith as a whole.
 

Vincent Wijeysingha at last year's Pink Dot event at Hong Lim Park.

 
 
When I began writing this blog, I chose the title 'Anyhow Hantam' in order to let those that disagree with my posts, the simple and easy option to dismiss them as the ramblings of a mere blogger. Moreover I have never yet claimed to be an authority on anything or attempted to convince anybody. I write my personal thoughts and opinions, agree or disagree as you wish, but I have endeavoured never to fulfil the expectations of the title. In other words, I try not to 'Anyhow Hantam' but to offer a fair assessment on events as I see them. While I haven't yet just written drivel,  instead it appears that Vincent Wijeysingha has now 'Anyhow Hantam' with this note.
 
Thus it becomes my duty to rebut this vile and disgusting note, which I believe was designed not only to damage the Church, but to further his agenda as a gay rights activist. With his many years abroad in the UK where gay rights are a pertinent issue, he has decided that Singapore must also follow suit with whatever laws and actions taken in that respect. I disagree, I still believe the timing is not right here for universal rights for all gays or LGBT persons similar those in the West. I agree however that repealing Section 377A of the Penal Code should take place, but following this vicious attack, I admit to having 2nd thoughts. If gay activists just stop with the decriminalising of Section 377A, then fair enough. However Vincent's attack might indicate that they will not just stop there, but use it as a spring board to push for more rights like marriage, adoption and the like. Worse in doing so, they will take the fight directly to religions that disagree or disapprove with homosexuality, particularly Islam and Christianity. This has the distinct possibility of polarising society and will only inflame tensions.
 
Anyway let's get back to his note and my rebuttal of it. I will leave the molest allegation for last. Let me start with the following:
 
A) Archbishop William Goh's Statement
 
Vincent's note stemmed from a statement made by the head of Catholic Church here, Archbishop William Goh. You can read a description here:
 
 
The Bishop stated that Catholic (and Christian) teaching indicates that a family unit comprises a father, a mother and children, this was done in response to queries from his flock about the composition of a core family unit. He also added that LGBT sexual relationships are not in accordance with God's plan. However he added that the Church accepts that certain individuals have attraction to people of the same sex, and as such advises his congregation to have understanding compassion and mutual-respect. These persons deserve love and respect despite their sexual orientations.
 

The Head of the Catholic Church in Singapore, Archbishop William Goh at his ordination last year.

 
 
I find nothing wrong with the Bishop's statement that wasn't designed in any way to be confrontational. If he wanted to he could have put it bluntly and simply said that homosexuality is a sin. He could have called on his flock to reject gay lifestyle and strongly condemned those who engaged in it as acting against the teachings of Christianity, yet he avoided it. Moreover it's well within his rights to espouse his views on a pertinent matter and to respond to a query from his flock.
 
What was Vincent's response to this? He cited his contempt to it! He then made the molest allegation but added, it didn't affect him, but Archbishop Goh's pronouncement has! So he means to say, being a 'victim of molest' is not so bad, but a Church leader decrying homosexuality as against the teachings of the faith is?
 

The Catholic Church here like its sister churches in India (above) and elsewhere, have done much good throughout its history but Vincent accuses them of only furthering hypocrisy.

 
 
He goes on to say that the Bishop's statement is disgraceful and concludes that the Singapore Church (through it's episcopacy – meaning the office its Bishops) are hypocrites and this has characterised much of its' history. Wow I didn't realise 1 church leader making a statement can be categorised as its whole history being one of hypocrisy! Forget all the good it has done since its inception here in the 1830s, forget its' feeding of the poor, forget its role in education, forget its role in helping the sick, forget its role teaching its flock to be morally upright. All this doesn't categorise its history according to Vincent. I leave discerning readers to decide who is the hypocrite here, Vincent or the Catholic Church in Singapore?
 
B) The Attack on the Universal Church
 
Not content to attack the Singapore Church, he launches a tirade against the Universal Church, mixing truths with unfounded allegations and personal opinions and then passing these 'half-truths' as true and indisputable facts. Yes, the Catholic Church in many dioceses (jurisdictions) worldwide had been embroiled in a disgusting child abuse scandal. Yes Church management in the past did very little to stop the abuse – they either didn't or refused to believe them, or took the easy way out by transferring rogue priests instead of reporting them to civil authorities.
 
But let's look at the bigger picture, what percentage of these priests were paedophiles? Was it 50%, 75%, 25% or much lesser?  I will accept that even 1 case is bad, however it does not mean that every single priest or Bishop is evil or a paedophile. This is a crime and sin of the individual, not a crime or sin by the Church as a whole. Vincent is using the famous old trick of guilt by association – just because a number of people are bad it means everyone or the whole organisation is bad. If this were so, can I or anyone also associate every gay person as a paedophile or sexual pervert because there have been several cases of gay men engaging in paedophilia or committing sexual offences? This happens both here and abroad. Just because a few gay men here have molested boys, molested men, contracted HIV and AIDS through promiscuous and unprotected sex, can we surmise that all gay men have a tendency to do such things and as such Section 377A is needed to protect society from them? If we did that, the gay activists here will be up in arms calling us bigots, narrow minded and being intolerant. So if we can't do that, who gives Vincent the right or authority to tar the whole church as being immoral?
 
Just because we have some gay paedophiles (a), can we conclude that all gays are paedophiles? Well Vincent seems to think the whole Catholic Church is immoral because of some rogue priests.
 
He goes on further to suggest early Church leaders like Paul and Augustine are responsible for church policy and discrimination against LGBTs. Pray tell from where and how he made this judgment? So he read a few books that suggested this, he straightaway rushes in to adopt this as the 'Gospel truth' and proven facts? Worse he accuses the church rule on celibacy by priests as a devious plan made years ago to save the Church from paying widows and orphans.
 
I am sorry but I can't seem to see a link here. Didn't the Bible or Jesus himself speak against illicit sex outside marriage which is always meant to be between a man and a woman? Isn't homosexuality a sin as per the teachings of Jesus and the Bible itself? Ignoring this, he pins the blame on 2 prelates from eons ago and comes up with a fantasy on celibacy. Where did he get his authority from? Did the Vatican confirm it in writing? Did any modern day Pope make such a ruling or gave an explanation whether written or oral?
 

Since Vincent has concluded that the Catholic Church is engaged is many conspiracies based on his readings, I've decided based on some youtube videos (like the above) that the Sept 11 attacks were done using remote controlled planes. And you must believe me because I have seen the videos!

 
 
Maybe from now on every time I read a book or article against something, I can therefore claim it to be the truth, conveniently ignoring the author's slant and bias! And maybe because I watched some home made youtube videos, I can also claim that as fact, even the ones which openly deny that the Sept 11 attacks took place. Nope there were no planes flying into the WTC or they weren't terrorist operated since no hijackings took place. Why? Because books, articles and youtube videos claiming these are available and I can use them to bolster my arguments and launch a tirade. Like Vincent, I can mix some facts with allegations and pronounce them as the undeniable truth.
 
C) His Despicable Attack on Pope Benedict XVI
 
He reserves some of his vilest and most vicious attacks on Pope (now Emeritus) Benedict XVI. He cleverly uses an inter-play of words and the usual tactic of mixing some parts of the truth with innuendo to devastating effect.
 
He describes Pope Benedict, previously known as Joseph Ratzinger as a 1 time Hitler Youth to further his allegation that he was a truly bad man. Pope Benedict's early teenage years as a Hitler Youth has never been denied, never used against him and never was an issue, except for tabloid press in the UK ever keen to reveal some juicy detail. The fact of the matter was that every schoolboy in Nazi Germany had to enrol in the Hitler Youth or face dire consequences, with arrest, torture or even death the likely outcomes. When the Nazis were in retreat in the final stages of the war, Ratzinger managed to abandon his position within the group by running away from its clutches. In the years since, there has never been 1 shred of evidence to suggest he acted in a criminal way that the Nazis inflicted on many. Yet Vincent chooses to belabour this point to bolster his weak arguments against the former Pontiff just because he had written a thesis in the 1980s calling homosexuality a moral evil. And he makes the immediate link from Nazi to the Papacy claiming this same man 'was elevated to the papacy' and he was advising bishops to cover up sex abuse scandals.
 

Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph A Ratzinger, is a holy and decent man of God. He doesn't deserve the vile allegations made against him by Vincent Wijeysingha.

 
 
This is another mischievous remark designed to damage the good name of a man of God by way of guilt by association and vile unsubstantiated allegations. As a Catholic himself (he was one anyway), he knows full well that Cardinal Ratzinger was not 'elevated' to the papacy. Popes are not elevated, they are elected by secret ballot by the College of Cardinals. They do not campaign for the office nor do they enter into secret dealings in order to become Pope. Cardinals decide whom they feel is best placed to lead the church, a decision they believe is inspired by God himself. Moreover the Pope must be elected by a 2/3 majority plus 1. Joseph Ratzinger was never elevated to the Papacy and he most certainly did not advise Bishops to cover up sex abuse scandals. This has never ever been proven or suggested. If there were evidence or reasons to believe so, the British tabloid press and other broadsheets worldwide would have been quick to highlight this during vacancy that followed Pope John Paul II's death. This would have effectively made Ratzinger's election impossible as Cardinals would be unlikely to vote for a Pontiff tainted by scandal.
 
Even after his election, no link was ever made to Pope Benedict being involved in any cover-up, even as evidence mounted against bishops who did. Moreover Pope Benedict took the first real concrete steps to deal with the troubling issue of clerical child abuse that his predecessor ignored. He called such acts vile and evil and allowed the referral of such acts to the civil authorities for arrests and prosecution. Could he have done more? For sure yes, every single case is a stain on the majority of good priests who take their vows and duties seriously. But he acknowledged it and was not the impediment as suggested by Vincent. Just because he decried homosexuality as an evil sin against the teachings of Christianity, this meant that Vincent had to discredit him in any which way he could. The more vile the allegation the better.
 
D) The Allegation of Molest 
 
Finally we come to the juicy bit of him being a victim of molest. Strangely he chooses to omit naming the priest concerned. He also makes an allegation against another local priest who was embroiled in a 'sex scandal' as he puts it, who was transferred to another church so he could continue where he left off because he had access once more to children. Perhaps Vincent can tell us the name of this priest, since it's unrelated to his own case and let the Church here respond. After all doesn't he believe in truth and justice? Or as in all his allegations, it's just rumour and heresay? He might not want to name names, but I'm sure that victim might not be of the same mindset. I'm sure with passage of time and maturity, he would have realised the gravity of the acts and raised the alarm to protect vulnerable children. Or is it just innuendo again by Vincent?
 
Coming to his own case, he claims he got into contact with a priest who engaged him in play wrestling and attempted to touch his crotch. This priest also brought him to his bedroom to show him pornographic magazines. And he makes a great emphasis on being just 15 years old!
 
Yet according to him it wasn't a momentous thing and didn't damage him! Maybe it wasn't a momentous thing and didn't damage him because it never took place and just like his other allegations, it was made to bolster his argument against Archbishop Goh's statement.
 
Why I have my doubts? Let's look at this in a logical way. This incident was supposed to have taken place in 1985, when he was 15. Anyone who knew Vincent then will testify he wasn't some naïve, bookish, nerdy pimply faced teenager. He was already quite mature, he was already smoking and drinking at that age and had a number of girlfriends. He certainly wasn't gay at the time. He was also reasonably mature to know what was right and morally wrong. 1 can conclude he wouldn't have taken such acts by his priest lying down and would have alerted someone to the actions of the priest.
 
St Vincent de Paul Church (present day) where pornographic stashing, child molesting priests exist according to the fantasies of Vincent Wijeysingha. He should be a fairy-tale writer instead of a gay activist, he'll be a huge success.
 
And the church he's referring to is St Vincent de Paul in Yio Chu Kang Road, where he was an altar boy. Most Catholic families send their kids to be altar boys in their local parish (district) churches. Vincent lived about a kilometre away in Seletar Hills. His father was then principal of Raffles Institution (or Temasek JC depending when the supposed act occurred, he became RI principal that year). He had every opportunity to raise the alarm and for sure the elder Wijeysingha would not have tolerated his son or other boys becoming victims of a paedophile priest. And he wasn't the only altar boy serving that church, there would have been around 10 other boys of differing ages. It isn't likely for this priest to just molest Vincent only, he would have tried this with other boys. Yet have any of them come forward? No.
 

Mr and Mrs Eugene Wijeysingha. They have been described as doting and caring parents. It's highly unlikely they would have tolerated a priest abusing their son.

 
 
Moreover there was a junior priest there – Father Mike Sitaram who was responsible for youths in the parish. Vincent could have approached Father Sitaram and highlighted the issue of his rogue colleague. In fact Father Sitaram is still there today, Vincent had every opportunity to approach him in any of the 30 years since, yet he didn't. And he had the opportunity to approach this rogue priest in the intervening years as he grew into an adult. Surely a man of his education and intelligence would have realised the scope and gravity of the priest's actions later on and the need to protect other youths. He could have and should have confronted the priest or lodged a police report. Yet he did nothing.
 
He makes an allegation and refuses to name names. He claims the priest had a stack of sex magazines in his wardrobe. In 1985 , having 1 or 2 pornographic magazines was difficult for the ordinary man, what more a priest having a stack? This was such a dangerous thing for him to do. At any time, someone could have made an allegation and his stash easily discovered, thus verifying the claim.
 
Looking at it in a logical way, there's huge discrepancies in Vincent's claim. The church he was involved in was no secret, at most there could only be 3 or 4 priests attached there, surely he can remember his name? Or is this priest now conveniently dead since it's 30 years, so there's no opportunity for him to rebut the allegations?
 
A paedophile priest operating in a small parish would easily become noticeable. His victims would have multiplied and not all of them would have remained silent or been 'undamaged' like Vincent. If these things happened eventually their parents would notice the difference in the kids behaviour and interrogated them and gotten the truth. Or these youth themselves when older, would realise the gravity of the acts and either confronted the said priest or made a report.
 
Vincent himself, not gay at the time would have been disgusted by the actions of the priest and could have raised the alarm to his father, teachers, friends and Father Sitaram. Or with his education and maturity, would immediately realise he needed to do something because he was disgusted with the behaviour of child abusing priests in the West.
 
Conclusion
 
The issue here is not about denying LGBT persons their right to live the lifestyle they want. They want acceptance and respect as a person, for sure. But there's a line they must not cross and must accept – that religions have the right to preach their core doctrine which considers any sexual act other than a man and woman as a sin or moral wrong. Just as much as LGBTs have the right to behave in that way, they must accept that others have a right to disagree with it. Religions do not force their views on LGBT people, so LGBT have no right to force their views on people who choose to follow such religions.
 
It becomes extremely troubling and downright disgusting that people like Vincent Wijeysingha in an attempt to further his activism decides to resort to lies, half-truths, innuendo and baseless allegations in order to further an argument and to discredit religion. His note is peppered with such vicious and wild claims, using mischievous inferences to cast a great slur on the Catholic Church here and a personal attack on its Archbishop and former Pope, both unlike him, are men of great honesty and moral fibre. I can come to no other conclusion from this disgusting affair but the obvious – Vincent Wijeysingha is a Liar.

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