Father Michael Teo to step down as St Joseph’s Church rector amid stained glass row

The Singapore rector embroiled in a row with local Catholic church leaders over a stained glass project said that he will step down from his post as ordered but that he will file an appeal with authorities in Rome.

In a statement on Saturday, St. Joseph's Church rector Reverend Father Michael Teo said that his petition seeking the revocation of the order for his removal was rejected by Singapore archbishop William Goh in a letter Teo received on Friday.

The 76-year-old priest said that he will be leaving St. Joseph’s Church, where he has been rector for the past 12 years, with “deep sorrow, disappointment and protest”. 

Earlier this month, Goh ordered Teo to leave his post by noon of Tuesday, 20 August, after the reverend filed a police report with the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), Singapore’s white collar crime investigation agency, in June, over a stained glass project reportedly costing $1.2 million.

According to Teo’s statement, Reverend Father John Bosco Peirera will be taking over as rector of St. Joseph’s Church.

Meanwhile, instead of reporting to the Church of St Theresa in Kampong Bahru as ordered by Goh, Teo said he will reside with his family instead to help “regain my composure and restore my personal wellbeing, which has been greatly damaged by recent action(s) taken against me”.

Earlier, Teo told his parishioners that he had been obliged to file a police report about possible wrongdoing in relation to the project to restore stained glass panels at St. Joseph’s, as work on it had remained unfinished and his pleas for answers from local church leaders "fell on deaf ears".

Parishioners have rallied behind Teo with some 400 having signed the petition to revoke the order removal against him.

Goh said in a pastoral letter on Tuesday that Teo had to be removed to avoid civil suits from being filed against the church.

The archbishop also said that his team "struggled to mediate a just and amicable settlement" of differences among stakeholders so that work on the project could proceed according to plan.

In response that same day, Teo pointed out that his being fired would not prevent the CAD from recommending the filing of a criminal case regarding the project if so warranted.

Both sides have been unable to reveal more details about the precise nature of suspected wrongdoing as the case is currently before the CAD. 

Teo said in his statement Saturday that he will be appealing to Rome to “finally resolve this matter”.

  • Wednesday #sgroundup: Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia 1 hour 38 minutes ago
    Wednesday #sgroundup: Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Here are today’s top trending stories in case you missed them.

  • The Lotus breadvan: Flickr photo of the day 15 hours ago
    The Lotus breadvan: Flickr photo of the day

    The Lotus Europa was one of the stranger sports cars of the '70s, but still managed to corner like a sheepdog thanks to its low weight and fiberglass body. This example caught by Dave Lindsay is fairly typical of the nicer early '70s Type 62 Europas Lotus exported to the United States; by today's standards they're odd, underpowered and unreliable — which means they have a fervent fan base.

  • Inside MotoGP, elbow on asphalt at 210 mph 16 hours ago
    Inside MotoGP, elbow on asphalt at 210 mph

    In MotoGP, a most strange sport, compact, highly fit men, most of them Spanish, Italian, Japanese, or Australian, maneuver 350-lb., multimillion-dollar motorcycles around Formula One tracks at 220 mph while wearing computerized suits that inflate when they fall off at speed. It feels as though you’re watching Tron live, and the crashes are just as spectacular. Driving these things requires a lot of nerve, as well as generous levels of Euro-style machismo. The riders of MotoGP can’t walk down the street in Barcelona or Milan without being followed by screaming fans. They’re like some sort of unholy marriage between Daft Punk and Apollo astronauts. In the United States, they’re just guys walking down the street.

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.

  • Fresh wave of Hello Kitty mania to descend on McDonald’s outlets in Singapore
    Fresh wave of Hello Kitty mania to descend on McDonald’s outlets in Singapore

    It may not be safe to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore on Mondays starting 28 April. To celebrate the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the fast food chain announced last Friday that it would be releasing a new collection of Hello Kitty toys in McDonald’s restaurants island wide next Monday.

  • First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy
    First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

    He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.