Cardinal Soter Fernandez left an indelible mark on Malaysia

Cardinal Soter Fernandez in 2015 - Photo: Anil Netto

JD Lovrenciear pays tribute to a humble priest who believed in authentic human development, social justice and interfaith dialogue.

“Truly my soul silently awaits for God; from Him comes my salvation” (Psalms 62:1)

As news of Cardinal Antony Soter Fernandez’s passing broke soon after noon today, thousands of people who knew this humble pastor took to social media.

Here was a man, a priest, a citizen who won the hearts and minds of tens of thousands of people with his trademark humility, simplicity and steadfastness.

Catholics, other Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and those of other faiths had come to recognise this bubbly, ever smiling, saintly man for his passion for justice, peace, understanding and acceptance of all of humanity.

From a humble priest, he rose to the tough calling of being a bishop, archbishop and finally Malaysia’s first cardinal.

The lessons he has left us all – people of all faiths and creeds – must not go to waste, especially in a climate where racial divisiveness and religious bigotry are sometimes manipulated to gain power and control.

The late cardinal has set a benchmark that should not be lost. We must build on his lessons on interfaith living to bring us all more closely together in a spirit of mutual respect and acceptance.

Let us in prayer remember this gift to all Malaysians. Let us in life’s journey be constantly reminded of Cardinal Soter’s virtues of humility, simplicity and steadfastness to our respective faiths and to our nationhood.

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Benedict Morais
29 Oct 2020 8.30am

The late Cardinal Soter Fernandez led a priestly life with great dignity, quiet resolve and deep humility. His elevation to the high status of a cardinal in the RC Church was recognition of his worthiness. On another relevant matter, he humbly chose, as a man of God, to decline state and federal honours!

Angeline Lesslar
Angeline Lesslar
28 Oct 2020 11.29pm

An unassuming small figure with a big heart. A humble Shepherd who cares n loves his flock. Our first Cardinal! God has called him back for eternal rest as his mission on earth was done. May he rest in peace! Amen.

Mildred Lopez
Mildred Lopez
28 Oct 2020 9.10pm

Cardinal Soter was a bishop that captivated my attention.I saw a great light radiating from
his countenance when I first set eyes on him.A shepherd that exuded the Father’s love without even speaking a word

Benedict Lopez
28 Oct 2020 7.53pm

RIP, A devoted and humble servant of the Lord