St Joseph's church priest to leave post after petition fails

SINGAPORE - Reverend Michael Teo, a veteran priest embroiled in a public spat with the Catholic Church leadership here over a $1.2 million restoration project said he will leave his post as instructed.

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Priest in row with church leadersBy K.c. Vijayan

The Sunday Times

SINGAPORE - A veteran priest in charge of historic St Joseph's Church in Victoria Street is embroiled in a dispute with the Catholic Church leadership here over his sudden removal from his post.

Reverend Michael Teo, 76, told worshippers at a service on Saturday that he had been told to go for making a police report about an ongoing project to restore century-old stained glass panels at the church.

He said he was given marching orders in an Aug 5 decree signed by Archbishop William Goh and the hierarchy's chancellor, Friar John Paul Tan, telling him to move to the Church of St Teresa on Aug 20 and wait there for his next posting.

But Father Teo, rector for the past 12 years, said he believed he had done nothing wrong by making the police report.

He said he intends to appeal to Rome and would await a "final resolution" from there.

Meanwhile, he added, he would stay put at StJoseph's despite the order to go.

The Sunday Times learnt that Archbishop Goh acted because Father Teo disobeyed the orders of previous archbishop Nicholas Chia to lay off the project to restore 72 stained glass panels.

The church is a designated national monument and the restoration job, estimated to cost $1.2 million, is being done with co-funding from the Preservation of Monuments Board and donations from Catholics.

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