Hornbill Unleashed

July 31, 2013

Vatican envoy makes first public address since Allah row

Filed under: religion — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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Terence Netto

Papal nuncio to Malaysia Archbishop Joseph Marino, in his first public remarks following the recent controversy ignited by comments he made on the ‘Allah’ issue, said the “very essence of our humanity is defined by the heart that cares and has compassion.”

Speaking to an overflow crowd at the annual Feast of St Anne celebrations at Bukit Mertajam, in Penang, last Saturday, Marino said that “so important is our common work for the good of others, which in itself is a true inter-religious dialogue of action,” that it becomes a means by which Christianity expresses its search for the divine.

The Vatican ambassador had maintained a discreet silence since the ignition of controversy over remarks he made in an interview published earlier this month when he described as “logical” the Christian Federation of Malaysia’s arguments for the use of the word ‘Allah’ in faith education and in the rituals of prayer and worship.

His comments drew the ire of Muslim NGOs, Perkasa and Jati, which protested the remarks as interference in Malaysia’s domestic affairs and called for a retraction and an apology before venting more anathema by urging the nuncio’s expulsion and the embassy’s closure.

Archbishop Joseph Marino

Marino responded by expressing regret that his remarks had caused offence but left things at that.

No mention of Allah row

He did not refer, not even obliquely, to the controversy during his homily at the annual week-long veneration of St Anne which culminated on Saturday with a service at which the nuncio presided with Penang bishop Sebastian Francis in attendance.

Addressing members of other faiths also present in the congregation that packed the church and spilled over into its ample grounds, Marino said:

“The Catholic Church without hesitation rejects nothing that is true and holy in other expressions of faith, and even more she regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men.”


  1. UMNO members should not wrongly interpret Islam and mislead others Muslim. This will create hatred issue and make others hate Muslim, as they simply accuse people without fact making lot of sinful works.

    Comment by H2O — July 31, 2013 @ 3:05 PM | Reply

    • If there is one message being transmitted to the other communities from the recent controversies, it seems that the Islam the Muslims practiced in Malaysia that is endorsed by the powers is that it is a very angry and unforgiving version not tolerant at all.. and they always preach compassion and understanding, patience but action indicates otherwise. Hellbent on Punishing and retaliation rather than educating and trying to make others have a better understanding of the beauty of the religion.

      Comment by AR71 — August 1, 2013 @ 12:20 PM | Reply

  2. Speak the truth. Do not be afraid – ever- to speak the truth. If others take offense to the truth, it is their obligation to examine their consciences, not something for which Archbishop Marino or anyone else need apologize. These critics wish to silence the truth. We must not allow it.

    Comment by JAFV — July 31, 2013 @ 7:38 AM | Reply

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