Catholic Church warns against false preachers, prophets here
THE Catholic Church here has warned against fake preachers and prophets, singling out an Irishwoman with followers here and another woman who came to Singapore in November to give talks.
In the latest issue of CatholicNews, an article from the Chancery - an arm of the Archbishop's office - warned against the actions of the two self-proclaimed seers, Irishwoman Mary Carberry or "Maria Divine Mercy", and Fabienne Guerrero, who is believed to be French.
It said Ms Carberry has claimed for years to have received messages from Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
She has a significant international following, including one in Singapore.
Her "ministry", however, has been rejected by the Dublin archdiocesan authorities and other European, American and Australian dioceses, said the Chancery.
Meanwhile, Ms Guerrero, who came here in November and gave unauthorised private lectures, said she was sent to warn people that they were "destined for hell if they continued practices like having their mortal remains cremated".
Ms Guerrero had originally intended to speak at public venues like Toa Payoh's Church of the Risen Christ but the Catholic Church here stopped it.
It is not known if she has left Singapore.
The Chancery added that these unapproved activists "often present un-Catholic messages alongside more orthodox elements", thereby passing off as authentic.
"Rather like Mary Carberry, Guerrero strenuously avoided Singapore's Catholic authorities," the article read.
"She and the local Catholics who organised her talks repeatedly ignored archdiocesan Chancery regulations for foreign speakers to first obtain permission to conduct ministry here."
The Chancery had put up a notice on its website in November cautioning against Ms Guerrero, "Maria Divine Mercy" and unapproved fund-raising by foreign priests.
A spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocesan Communications Office said because "Carberry and Guerrero's claims are not in line with the Church's official teachings and theology, it is necessary for Church authorities to help local Catholics distinguish and know the difference between authentic teaching and those that are false".
Mathew Mathews, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies who studies social cohesion in Singapore, said there will always be preachers with ideas that go against the mainstream.
But Dr Mathews added that religious bodies have the right to warn their members that some teachings are not in line with their beliefs.
"Some teachings which are propagated may cause substantial friction - for instance, preachers who might call their audience to uncivil behaviour or even violence - in those cases, it is very important that religious groups and governments address such teaching."