RIP Cardinal Cornelius Sim of the Apostolic Vicariate in Brunei Darussalam who Died at Age 70 - Pope Francis Sends Condolences

Cardinal Cornelius Sim of the Apostolic Vicariate in Brunei Darussalam died at the age of 70 on May 29th, 2021. "With a sad heart I announce the death of Cardinal Cornelius Sim, Cardinal of the Apostolic Vicariate in Brunei Darussalam, who passed away on Saturday, May 29, 2021 at 8:28 am at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (CGMH) in Taoyuan City, Taiwan",Msgr. Robert Leong, Vicar General, in a press release. Since his arrival in Taiwan on May 8, the Cardinal has been in quarantine until the beginning of his medical treatment at the CHMH. The medical staff took care of his health conditions on a daily basis, but unfortunately, everything they did didn't seem to be very effective. He gradually became weaker and lost much of his vitality. Unfortunately he has passed away", said Msgr. Leo. The Cardinal's funeral will be announced at a later date. "Let us all pray for his soul and for the Vicariate. May his soul rest in peace", said Mgr. Robert Leong.

Pope Francis wrote a Message of Condolence: (Source:

To the Most Reverend Wojciech Załuski

Apostolic Delegate to Brunei Darussalam
Kuala Lumpur

Having learned with sadness of the death of Cardinal Cornelius Sim, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the clergy, religious and laity of the Apostolic Vicariate of Brunei. With gratitude for Cardinal Sim’s faithful witness to the Gospel, his generous service to the Church in Brunei and to the Holy See, I willingly join the faithful in praying for his eternal rest. To all who mourn the late Cardinal’s passing in the sure hope of the Resurrection I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in Jesus, the firstborn of the dead.


Biography of Cardinal Sim from

Cardinal Cornelius Sim, titular Bishop of Putia in Numidia and Vicar Apostolic of Brunei, was born on 16 September 1951.  He graduated with a degree in engineering from Dundee UniversityScotland, and was awarded a master’s degree in theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, United States of America.

He was ordained a priest on 26 November 1989.  After working in various parishes, he was appointed as Vicar General of Brunei in 1995 and Prefect Apostolic on 21 November 1997.

On 20 October 2004 Saint John Paul II elevated the Apostolic Prefecture of Brunei to the level of Apostolic Vicariate and appointed him the first Vicar Apostolic, assigning him the titular see of Putia in Numidia.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope Francis in the consistory of 28 November 2020, of the Title of San Giuda Taddeo Apostolo.

Cardinal Cornelius Sim died on 29 May 2021.

About Brunei: (excerpt from

The Apostolic Vicariate of Brunei is located in the Southeast Asian Kingdom of Brunei, a country with large oil reserves and a majority Muslim population. A total of 460,000 (or two thirds of the country's population) profess Islam, which is also the country's official religion. Members of other religions, on the other hand, are free to practice their faith in peace and harmony.
The Catholic community of Brunei has about 16,000 believers, 80% of whom are migrants or guest workers, mainly from the Philippines, but also from other Southeast Asian countries.
They are served by four priests, all of whom are from Brunei.
Pope Francis appointed Bishop Sim from the Apostolic Vicariate of Brunei Darussalam as the first Catholic cardinal in one of the richest and smallest countries in the world.
The Apostolic Vicariate of Brunei Darussalam is part of the Bishops' Conference Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei.
The Apostolic Vicariate of Brunei has three priests and four parish churches, is one of the youngest and smallest "dioceses" in Southeast Asia and is a constantly growing church with numerous spiritual activities in its parishes.
The Catholic faith was first brought to Brunei by Franciscan missionaries in 1587, but the local church was not founded until 1997. Last year the Cardinal said that the Vicariate "wants to strengthen and support the missionary dimension of the Church today".
Brunei is a 2,200 square mile country entirely on the island of Borneo, which is also home to parts of Malaysia and Indonesia. The official language is Malay, but English and Chinese are also widely used. The country is an absolute monarchy led by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

Image Source: Screenshot - Wikimedia Commons