Alex Yam, Member of Parliament, Singapore. Photo from Alex Yam's official Facebook account Alex Yam, Member of Parliament, Singapore. Photo from Alex Yam's official Facebook account 

Singapore’s anticipation of Papal visit ignites dialogue on societal change

In a conversation with Catholic News, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Singapore, Catholic parliamentarian Alex Yam shared insights on how the Holy Father’s teachings guide his approach to pressing societal issues in Singapore.

By LiCAS News

As the nation prepares for its first papal visit in nearly four decades, the dialogue about the interplay between faith and public policy is intensifying. 

The visit by Pope Francis on September 11–13 is eagerly anticipated, not only by the local Catholic community but also by the broader society, given its potential to influence discussions on a range of pressing issues, including social justice, family values, and education.

Yam, known for integrating religious values into his political work, emphasized the importance of upholding the dignity of every individual. 

“As Catholics, we are called to uphold the dignity of every person, no matter their circumstances in life, outlook, or sexual orientation, since we are all created in the image and likeness of God,” he said.

This message resonates as Singapore grapples with societal shifts such as rising divorce rates and declining birth rates, challenging traditional family structures. 

Yam referenced the Church’s position as articulated by Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortations, Evangelii Gaudium and Amoris Laetitia

“The sanctity of marriage and human sexuality is an area where the Holy Father has upheld traditional Catholic teaching,” he remarked. 

Yam stressed the need for policies that strengthen families, promote healthy relationships, and provide support for those in difficulty.

He highlighted the Pope’s endorsement of an educational approach that emphasizes human values, solidarity, and respect for diversity, advocating for a holistic system that nurtures intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development. 

“This allows for more diversity and creativity in our society and economy, which, in turn, builds a more resilient workforce,” he said.

On economic disparities, Yam emphasized the Church’s commitment to the preferential ‘Option for the Poor’, a principle underpinning policies aimed at fostering a more equitable society. 

“While extreme poverty in Singapore is less common than elsewhere, the widening gap between rich and poor remains an issue,” he noted, reaffirming the Pope’s vision of love, justice, and solidarity.

“His pastoral approach challenges us, the faithful, to address societal injustices, advocate for the marginalized, and promote dialogue and reconciliation by putting Christ at the center of our lives, our community, and our nation,” Yam said. 

As a Catholic Member of Parliament, Yam said he lives out his faith through daily collaboration with leaders across various sectors to tackle social challenges. 

“My hope is that, together, we will be guided by faith in God as we journey as a vibrant, evangelizing, and missionary Church in building a more just and compassionate world for all,” he said.

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10 July 2024, 15:38