Msgr Nicholas Ong, parish priest Holy Trinity Tawau

By Agnes Chai

Aug 26 2020

TAWAU – Though the Church is involved in the political process, it is not partisan and therefore, cannot support or recommend any candidate or party. However, it will not compromise basic principles or moral teachings.

It is with this in mind that Msgr Nicholas Ong took his stand, first and foremost as a Catholic, and secondly as a shepherd for God’s flock, as he prepares himself before stepping into the voting booth for the State election on Sep 26.  Msgr Ong is the parish priest of Holy Trinity Church (HTC) in Tawau.

In helping himself to form his conscience well, he felt the need to call Catholics across the State to faithful reflection and discernment as we approach the election.

Speaking from the pulpit during the live streamed Masses from HTC on Aug 8 and 22, he underlined that the Church must preach against the politics of racism, of bigotry and of religion which divide people and abuse power.

He warned politicians not to play religious politics, or racism politics in order to be voted in, to be in power, to abuse power and to practise corruption. “You shouldn’t be a politician! This is the word I speak to politicians: absolute power corrupts, too much money corrupts.”

To the politicians who would listen, the Monsignor continued to give them an earful “Again, there can be no peace without justice. Irrespective of race or religion, justice belongs to all, especially the poor and needy; give them a living and decent wage, housing, health care and insurance, holiday, pension, all the basic human needs.

“I repeat, this is God’s word: do not practise, or promote, or play racial or religious politics, to divide people, to cause chaos, to be voted into power, to abuse power and to practise corruption!” he thundered on.

He was insistent that the Church must pray for politicians, no matter what party, who promote unity, solidarity, peace and prosperity for our country.

He recalled Penang Bishop Sebastian Francis who, at the last election, said “Your vote is not only secret, but your vote is sacred. Vote according to the will of God. The will of God is this: you vote for politicians who love and serve, who work for justice, who unite the people by promoting unity, solidarity and peace, so that our country will prosper.”

The faithful would do well in praying deeply after exploring those areas where they find themselves most challenged by the simple guidance provided by Msgr Ong.