Speaking at a special thanksgiving mass with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore should continue to be a place where every religious belief has its own space, in contrast with other countries where religious beliefs have resulted in sectarian violence and conflict.

“We are a secular country, but as the archbishop pointed out, many of our citizens hold their religious faiths dearly and deeply, and the Government believes that this is a good thing and encourages this. We belong to many different faiths, but this year, we celebrate SG50 as one people and one nation,” he said.

In his speech, the Archbishop of Singapore, William Goh, gave thanks to the Singapore government and emphasized that the church should work with the government on all matters, including preventing society’s slide into “moral decadence”.

“Singapore is blessed in that we have a supportive and responsible government – one that is not only visionary but determined and collaborative.

“We have a government that is secular but not secularised, as it recognises the important role that religions can play in the moral development of our peoples. We are truly grateful to her for championing religious harmony, which is especially crucial at a time when religious extremism is threatening the peaceful coexistence of peoples.

“Hence, it behoves the Church to work closely with the state and other religions to prevent moral decadence, to preserve families, to strengthen the marriage institution and to promote justice, peace and harmony.”

The event was attended by close to 9,000 Catholics, and featured other activities such as a performance by local-born singer Corinne May.

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