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Christian group honors late Brunei cardinal

Cornelius Cardinal Sim Professorial Chair in Theology and Dialogue is a tribute from a community of benefactors

Christian group honors late Brunei cardinal

Cardinal Cornelius Sim died on May 29 at the age of 70. (Photo: Apostolic Vicariate of Brunei)

A Christian group promoting theological engagements and ecumenical dialogue has announced the launch of a professorial chair in memory of the late Cardinal Cornelius Sim of Brunei.

The Christian Institute for Theological Engagement (CHRISTE) has established the Cornelius Cardinal Sim Professorial Chair in Theology and Dialogue, according to a Sept. 5 press release.

The chair will be funded through an endowment from a community of benefactors in tribute to the late cardinal, it said.

“On this 100th day since the passing of His Eminence, we hereby announce that CHRISTE has been endowed a professorial chair from a community of benefactors in tribute to the late Cardinal Sim’s life and ministry to the People of God. This professorial chair carries the name of Cardinal Sim and comes with a mandate to undertake ongoing theological reflection and dialogue through research, teaching and publication,” said Jocelyn Yeo, chairperson of the board of governors of CHRISTE.

Yeo said the funding will be used for research and publication activities on issues of theology and dialogue that were close to the heart of Cardinal Sim, advancing the mandate of its research institute.
 
“The Cornelius Cardinal Sim Professorial Chair in Theology and Dialogue represents the desire of both the benefactors and our research institute to faithfully preserve and continue the legacy that the late cardinal has left behind in his apostolic mission to the Church and the world,” Yeo said.

Born to Catholic parents as the eldest of six siblings, Cornelius Sim studied engineering in Malaysia and Scotland

Deacon Sherman Kuek, leading research fellow in Catholic and ecumenical thought at CHRISTE, has been appointed as the Cornelius Cardinal Sim professor of theology and dialogue.

With the assistance of a panel of consultors, the professor will receive, evaluate and recommend research proposals from scholars who will be potential recipients of annual grants funded by this endowment.

“Throughout his episcopal ministry, His Eminence had a concern that Christians should be well equipped to respond faithfully to the societal realities of their day. For this reason, His Eminence became the inaugural ecclesiastical patron of CHRISTE when the research institute was established on August 28, 2020, under a United Nations treaty which places it under the legal jurisdiction of international law,” Sherman said.

The official establishment of the professorial chair and the installation of the named professor will take place on Sept. 16, Cardinal Sim’s 70th birth anniversary.

The occasion will be marked by the release of a commemorative booklet, the investiture of the academic stole on the named professor, and the broadcasting of a special lecture presented by the professor.

Cardinal Sim, bishop of Brunei, died in Taiwan on May 29 at the age of 70 due to a cardiac arrest while undergoing treatment for cancer, barely seven months after Pope Francis made him a cardinal. He was buried at the Church of Our Lady of Assumption in Bandar Seri Begawan on June 15.

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Born to Catholic parents as the eldest of six siblings, Cornelius Sim studied engineering in Malaysia and Scotland. He worked for Shell, one of the world’s largest petrochemical companies, in Brunei and Holland until 1985.

He later quit his job and joined priestly formation studies. He was ordained a priest on Nov. 26, 1989, becoming the first native priest of the tiny Catholic Church in Brunei.

He became the apostolic prefect of Brunei in 1997 and the first apostolic vicar in 2004 when Pope John Paul II elevated Brunei to the status of a vicariate. He was ordained a bishop on Jan. 21, 2005.

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