News excerpt from The Gazette, Canada:
VATICAN CITY - The Vatican and Malaysia have established official diplomatic ties, the Holy See announced on Monday after talks between Pope Benedict XVI and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
"In the cordial conversations, the positive developments in bilateral relations were discussed, and an agreement was reached to establish diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the Holy See," the Vatican said in a statement.
Najib in his tenure as Prime Minister of Malaysia over the past two years has allowed several highly- publicized discriminatory practices against Christians, mainly Catholics. Such examples are the use of the word 'Allah' by The Herald, allowed by the court but subsequently disallowed pending a re-appeal from Hishammuddin's office; and Catholic Bibles being confiscated, subsequently 'defaced' by crudely stamped serial numbers. When Najib and entourage attended mass on Christmas Day 2010 at the Archbishop's official residence in St. John's Cathedral, there was allegedly an order from the government to remove crucifixes and religious items ahead of Najib's arrival. There was also a ban on Catholic hymns at that mass celebration.
Especially after Bersih 2.0, Najib's portrayal of a moderate Muslim and catalyst of transformation just does not cut it. As for Archbishop Murphy, it is alright to promote the Muslim-Catholic relationship while remaining non-partisan but with the Catholic issues unresolved, his visit to Rome accompanying Najib is a grave error. Christians look up to their head of Church as a spiritual cornerstone and not as team-member of a spin-team.
Tan Sri Murphy's actions are a silent insult to the Catholic priests and Catholic lawyers who defended The Herald's lawful right to the word 'Allah'. Catholic priests who have sworn to obedience as a vow, as well as Catholic parishioners, have the right to speak their mind in this matter.