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Withdrawn edition of Catholic News on “Marxist conspiracy”

On 14 June 1987, the Catholic Church had printed copies of its June 14 edition of the Catholic News with a statement from the Church to its faithful. However, for reasons unknown, the then Archbishop, Gregory Yong, decided to withdraw that edition of the Catholic News. We reproduce it here, with the statement from the Church to its followers, explaining the Church’s position on the arrest of 22 Singaporeans, including church workers, by the Government on 21 May 1987. The arrests were known as “Operation Spectrum“. The Catholic Church’s statement as on 14 June 1987 in the withdrawn edition of the Catholic News: MY DEAR People of God and well-wishing friends, The peace of the risen Christ be with you always. We have been going through a very difficult time, full of anxiety and anguish, not knowing what is happening in our Church and to our Church. I thank you for all your prayers and the assurance that you are supporting me and the Church with your prayers, fasting and sacrifices. You have not prayed, fasted and sacrificed in vain. I thank especially all those who went to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church to participate in the…

The ghosts of Whitley Road

An essay by Dr Vincent Wijeysingha – to mark the 25th anniversary of Operation SpectrumIn 1987, I was at junior college. Just across the road, twenty-two other Singaporeans were at Whitley Road Detention Centre. They were locked up under the Internal Security Act, a sinister law designed to silence critics, first of the colonial government and later of the People’s Action Party who had promised to bring freedom to the people of our island. Speaking to the press in 1995, after a whole generation had been effectively silenced, then Senior Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, told The Straits Times: “As Prime Minister, I reserved executive powers in the Internal Security Act and the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act, both inherited from British times, which I did not repeal in order to be able to act against subversives or criminals like drug traffickers against whom there is insufficient evidence for a court of law, without having recourse to the courts. In other words, I was my own carrier of a hatchet. I needed no hatchet man. All those who have been dealt with by me know that I have never flinched from going into a dark street on a dark night…

“I have always loved the Catholic Church”

As we commemorate the 25th anniversary of Operation Spectrum, former priest Edgar D’Souza gives a detailed and frank account of his experience of that harrowing time. By Elaine Ee When Edgar D’Souza decided in the early 1960s, at the tender age of 16, that he wanted to become a Catholic priest, little did he foresee that some 20-odd years later he would get caught up in a web of arrests that resulted in some of his most respected colleagues being detained without trial and he being suspended from the Church he so dearly loved. For this Selangor-born gentleman, who had come to Singapore in the early 1950s as a child, the Church has always been a source of inspiration. “I was brought up in a devoted Catholic family by my widowed mother and maternal grandparents,” D’Souza recalls. “From primary school days at St Michael’s, I was an altar boy and saw priests as leaders of a worshipping community. A number of them were also family friends. “I came to admire priests, the way they guided people in their lives, particularly by assisting the poor and needy through organisations like the St Vincent de Paul society. When I was in secondary…