Cardinal Sim heads Brunei’s Catholic community of some 16,000 faithful, 80% of whom are migrants or expatriates, mostly from the Philippines but also from other south-east Asian countries. They are catered to by 3 priests, all local Bruneians.
The 69-year old Apostolic Vicar feels that in making him a cardinal, Pope Francis wanted to “include forgotten communities, or communities that are not given much prominence, including those on the periphery”, which “neither ask nor get much publicity”.
“Brunei, in this sense,” he said, “is a periphery within the periphery.”
The cardinal admits that his Church is unlike the historic, “mega Churches” of the West, with their beautiful architectural monuments”.
“Perhaps,” he said, “Pope Francis also sees this might be an opportune moment to highlight communities like ours, not completely hidden, but still very much operating below the radar, so to speak, to say that we also present a face of the Church, which is not often seen.”
“We,” he said, “are the little flock of Luke 12:32,” where Jesus says: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.”
In this regard, Cardinal Sim recalled a radio broadcast of then-Father Joseph Ratzinger in 1969, in which the future Pope Benedict XVI envisioned what the future Church might look like. He said, “From the crisis of the day, the Church of tomorrow will emerge – a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity.”
Source: Vatican News