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Saturday, 11 November 2017 19:10

INDONESIA Christians are "a creative minority"

11th November  2017 - "As Christians in Indonesia we are a minority, but we must be a creative minority capable of promoting the Pancasila (the five basic principles of the nation), as well as correctly presenting our identity of good Catholic citizens": said Fr. Felix Supranto, priest of the Congregation for the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SS CC), introducing the general reflection in front of the Plenary Assembly of Indonesian Bishops, in Jakarta from 6 to 16 November, focusing on the theme "To become a relevant and significant Church: the Church's call to purify the world".

As Fides learns, Fr. Supranto, engaged in the documentation department of the Bishops' Conference, introduced the first three days of study, dedicated to the current state of the nation, to the challenges of the present political momentum, projected towards the 2018 administrative elections, with a view to understanding and promoting the participation of Catholics in public life. Among other speakers, there were also Christian leader Jeirry Sumampaw, representative of the Communion of Indonesian Churches, and Alisa Rahman Wahid, the eldest daughter of former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid (called "Gus Dur"), and today active in the "Wahid Foundation".

According to Sumampaw, an attempt is being made in the Indonesian nation to weaken the Pancasila by some parties and social groups. That is why he invited Catholic Bishops to help members of their respective communities so that they "are not only spectators of this process but are active supporters of the values of the Charter".

Alisa Rahman noted that in the last 12 years there has been an increasing number of incidents and violent episodes, a sign of religious intolerance, and factors such as discrimination, exclusivity, religious extremism and terrorism have become more visible in society, at the expense of coexistence. In this context, "we need the stronger role of religious leaders, especially in responding to predictable unexpected situations", said the Muslim leader.

The Bishops therefore discussed the role of the Catholic community in the application of the Pancasila. And, as observed by Franciscan Fr. Peter C. Aman, director of the "Justice and Peace" Commission of Friars Minor and professor of Christian Moral at the Philosophy School of Driyarkara, Jakarta, "the Catholic Church in Indonesia does not lose hope and the idea of promoting unity, justice, integrity and religious social harmony of the nation". "The Church - he said - must remain 'lumen gentium' and live its role in the modern world by integrating the joys and hopes, pains and anxieties of Indonesian society", said Fr. Aman citing the conciliar document "Gaudium et spes".

To give an effective contribution to the respect and promotion of the Pancasila, according to Fr. Aman, the Church is called to engage with all men of good will, in public areas and institutions. "To be significant in the world, especially in Indonesia", the Franciscan affirmed, "the Church must seek to purify and optimize its mission of sanctifying the world, also contributing to the values embodied in the Pancasila".

Inviting Pastors to "have the smell of sheep" - according to Pope Francis’ expression - Fr. Aman recalled the mission of Indonesian Catholics "to engage in sincere dialogue and sharing in a pluralistic society, without wanting to dominate or assert oneself, but trusting in the realization of unity". That is why it is useful to encourage Christian laity to enter politics, economy and government structures, he said. (PP-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 10/11/2017) 


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