Challenges faced by the clergy

The fourth day of the Assembly was a time for addressing the challenges faced by the Malaysian clergy.

Jan 26, 2019

Malaysian Catholic Clergy Assembly: DAY 4

The fourth day of the Assembly was a time for addressing the challenges faced by the Malaysian clergy.

Issues on family, youth, vocation, secularisation, faith formation, evangelisation and mission witnessing were among some of the topics that were addressed in the group sharing in the hope of a greater collaboration to wards living the mission entrusted to us by our Lord Jesus. 

Pages VI-VIII show the clergy’s individual responses to the challenges as well as ways to address them.


What are the challenges that I face as a priest/deacon, in ministering to the family today?
– Migration of the young to urban places has left the elderly in the rural areas.
– Smaller families are leading to a vocation crisis.
– Individualism among the family members partly caused by multimedia is creating a fragmented society.
– The clergy lack skills needed to deal with family issues and LGBT cases.
– There is a lack of time for the family and families are living stress filled lives.
– Family values are lost.
– Young parents lack parenting skills.
– The absence of parents because of work often leaves the duties of parenthood to the grandparents.
– Divorce is becoming too common.
– Government policies encourage families to have fewer or no children. Too much emphasis is placed on the externals and materialism.
– There is a lack of interest among families for formation and participation in church activities.
– Attempts to control the population growth has led to a decrease in child birth among Christians. How can I address the needs of the family in our context?
– The clergy can accompany the family at all levels and facilitate interaction between family members.
-- The clergy need to visit homes.
-- Help the families to discover the importance of stronger communion between members through prayer and spirituality.
-- Create an awareness and educate families on issues that affect family life.
-- Rekindle family values in accordance with the teachings of the Church.
-- Encourage families to help each other in facing family issues.
--Facilitate sharing among clergy when addressing family issues.
– Instil values that promote and encourage togetherness.
-- Encourage the celebration of wedding anniversaries.
-- Provide recollection and retreats for families.


What is my understanding of Islamisation?

– A process to convert others to Islam through education, politics, etc.
-- An imposition of an Islamic state through government policies, (PM Abdullah Badawi’s Islam Hadhari).
-- A threat to our Christian faith as many are converting to Islam

Modus Operandi of Islamisation:
-- There is an option for Islamic studies in schools
-- Is some boarding schools, some students are not allowed to go out for Sunday Masses / spiritual a tivities
– There is a Jihad attitude in relationships: Muslim boys and girls trying to attract the non Muslims
-- Money (RM1,000) was used to bribe the converts
-- Privileges in terms of career advancement, promotion, Red IC to Blue IC
-- Islamic banking, music, culture, halal requirement.

How do I engage with Islamisation in my pastoral ministry?
-- By befriending and dialoguing with the East Malaysians (who feel isolated)
-- By befriending and having dialogues with Muslims
-- By encouraging more ecumenical programmes, such as the breaking fast together organised by St Joseph’s Cathedral, Kuching
– Campus Ministry (food, accommodation and buses for Masses)
-- Borneo care and support: Faith formation, pre marriage course.
-- Anak angkat for Catholic students in West Malaysia to bring in East Malaysian students during their semester / short breaks
-- IChat with Fr Larry Tan SJ, to educate Catholics on Islam and Islamisation
-- Faith: Conviction or convenience?


How much time do I spend with the youth in our ministry?
-- Some are full time youth ministers, or at least casually meet with the youth after Mass
-- Organise concrete programmes for the youth
-- Accompany the youth in the ministry through youth programmes, school / campus Masses, counselling, stress management
-- Listen to the youth and help the voice of the youth to be heard in the community What are the needs my youth and where do they go when their needs are not met in my church?
-- There is a need for common youth activities and for a space for them to be together
-- The youth need to be given an opportunity to take responsibility and be guided accordingly
-- The youth need to feel that they belong and are important in the community
-- There is a need to have Catholic Moral Education sessions for the youth, e.g. Theology of the Body
-- There is a need for a personal contact with the youth
-- Youths in different parishes have different needs and therefore there should be a comprehensive study into their back grounds, needs, and parish context if we are to meet their pastoral needs.


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