Wednesday, August 30, 2006

priests get sued

We have some bizarre news in Singapore. From ChannelNewsAsia,

SINGAPORE : The 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.

Fifty-year old Amutha Valli Krishnan, 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.

The key thing here is the "Writ of Summons", which is a legal document that initiates the process of suing someone. It basically says, "I sue you, and here's why, and here's what I want from you". The person doing the suing is known as the Plaintiff and the person(s) being sued is known as the Defendants(s).

The Defendants now have reply with a document known as a "Defence" where they state which points in the Writ of Summons they agree with, and which points they don't.

Once this is completed, the process of "discovery" begins. This involves both parties informing each other of their respective cases, and involves exchange of documents and questions and so on. If it becomes apparent at this step that one party has no case to answer, then the process ends here and the suit can be abandoned. Or, both parties might decide to settle privately.

It is quite an infrequent thing to proceed to a trial. In a trial, the judge, based on the cases presented by both parties, decides on the issues and the trial proceeds from there. For example, an issue might be, "Was the Rite of Exorcism conducted on the plaintiff?" and both sides will present their answers and the corresponding evidence. If it comes to a trial, the costs essentially escalate and the pockets of both sides will be hit. The shit hits the fan. Yes, even the winner will have to pay costs.

The CNA article merely reports the fact that someone is suing the Church. It does not say who's wrong and who's right. That is sorted out by the legal process. Hence, let us suspend judgement and pray, for the benefit of both parties, that the matter will be settled speedily and amicably, without proceeding to a trial.

*Legal procedure summarized from Chapter 2 of Basic Business Law in Singapore.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The One God

The following is an excerpt from the sermon His Grace Coptic Bishop Daniel of Sydney delivered during his visit here some two months ago:

The first commandment is: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Mark 12:29

Why do we have one God?

Our God is one because if there are two gods, this would mean that one of th two is greater than the other. This would also mean one of the two existed before the other and the one who existed before is greater - as such, the one who existed later will not be god.

Only one god will reign, should two gods exist. The second would not be god, because he must follow the one who leads.

God is omnipresent, there is no need for another.

In the Bible, we read that the one Lord cannot give His glory to another:

When the people of Israel worshipped idols (e.g. the golden calf) - God became angry at them.

When the Egyptians of old worshipped an entire pantheon of gods, God commanded Moses to lead His people of Egypt, that they may worship Him.

Likewise, people who worship idols, animals, plants and even other human beings are not right because they are not gods - they do not possess the power or the might to do everything and to be anywhere at any time.


Contrary to popular fiction, our Lord cannot procreate with a human being. We cannot accept, by all means, the marriage of the divine to the carnal because:

Humans can only procreate with humans. Anything else is not logical, acceptable nor biblical. This is very clear. We see this even in the animal kingdom. Never in the history of mankind, have we seen an elephant mating with a lion - but we certainly have seen the mating between a male elephant and a female elephant. If this is the case with animals, so it is for humans, let alone the one God.

In addition, we have witnessed some people, ordinary people, who were not married - like the great saint, Anthony, and the monastics and hermits. If a man like St Anthony was able to be celibate for God, what more can we say about the one God who created St Anthony?