Prime Minister Lee congratulates Bishop Goh on his upcoming appointment as Roman Catholic Cardinal

SINGAPORE — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday (June 1) congratulated Archbishop William Goh Seng Chye on Pope Francis’ announcement that he would be named a Roman Catholic cardinal in August.

In a Facebook post, Mr Lee noted that Archbishop Goh, 64, will be Singapore’s first cardinal – a rank just behind the pope in the church hierarchy.

“This is particularly important for our Catholic community, which celebrated its bicentenary last year,” Mr. Lee wrote.

Since taking office in 2013, Bishop Goh has guided Singapore’s Catholics and actively worked with fellow religious leaders to “promote religious harmony and support the progress of our country,” Lee said.

“I am convinced that he will continue to bring his wisdom and humility to his new responsibilities. I wish him every success in his new appointment and look forward to him making a greater contribution to the Church and the wider community in Singapore and beyond,” he added.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore previously said in a statement that it was honored by the news and that Archbishop Goh was “deeply touched” by the upcoming appointment.

Archbishop Goh will be officially installed as cardinal on August 27 in a ceremony known as the consistory.

One of the most important roles of cardinals is to elect a new pope when the incumbent dies or resigns, in an event known as a conclave. Only cardinals under the age of 80 can enter the conclave.

When cardinals elect a new pope, they deliver that message by releasing white smoke from a chimney atop the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

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