Seek Justice In Fair, Moderate Manner, KL Archbishop Tells Lawyers

Archbishop Julian Leow urged Catholic lawyers to pursue justice in a "fair and meek manner in the midst of extreme issues facing the country", at the annual Red Mass celebration this morning.

He, however, said he used the term “meek” to mean "moderate", as opposed to being timid or soft.

Leow told the lawyers, who had gathered at the mass to pray for justice in their profession, that the Bible explained “meek” as being in the middle, where one was not extremely angry but neither uncaring.

In his sermon at Sentul's St Joseph's Church, the Archbishop said Catholic lawyers had a duty to pursue justice in a fair and meek manner, in the midst of extreme issues facing the country.

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Archbishop Julian Leow at Red Mass 2016
Meanwhile, Catholic Lawyers Society (CLS) president Allen Miranda, when asked what legal issues were of most concern to lawyers at the present time, said it was the case involving kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi over the unilateral religious conversion of her children by her Muslim convert husband.

He said, however, that they would continue to take a moderate stand as they had in the past, always preferring to take the dialogue route to resolve issues.

Miranda also said they stood by the Malaysian Bar and the professional body's responses to legal issues.

"We agree with what the Malaysian Bar has to say, there is nothing more to add. They are always well-researched and are able to put matters into perspective," he told The Malaysian Insider.

Former CLS president Datuk Joy Appukuttan said as a lawyer, he was concerned about the important repercussions of Indira's case, as it affected the rights of minority religious communities.

He urged the government to be proactive and look into the needs of the people, saying a solution was needed in the present conflict.

"We can't be harping and keep seeking the courts when there is no redress.

"This has been going on for far too long and needs to be addressed immediately."

Appukuttam also said all parties cannot be compelled to go to religious courts to have the conversion issue addressed, adding that it was a matter for the civil courts.

"The victims here continue to be the children.

"Let's not forget we are a multi-racial country and the rights of everyone should be protected," he told The Malaysian Insider.

Lawyer Annou Xavier also expressed concern over the fate of Indira and her children, saying that the call by the Archbishop about escalating extremism was timely.

"The call by the Archbishop is timely not only to the Catholic lawyers, but to all Malaysians.

"Every Malaysian has a duty to eradicate the extremism element from our nation in a civilised way.

"In the same manner, authorities and courts must also apply and interpret the law in a just manner so that justice is not only done theoretically, but seen to be done."

Some 70 lawyers attended the mass.

The Red Mass is named after the garments of the celebrant and it is traditionally offered to those involved in the administration of justice, praying for guidance from the Holy Spirit.

In Malaysia, the Red Mass has been celebrated annually by CLS for the past 20 years, presided over by archbishops, bishops and priests.

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