04/29/2013, 00.00
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Borneo: bishop, priests and laity united against corruption and Church's "internal problems"

by Mathias Hariyadi
Evangelisation and participation in community life were discussed at the Pastoral Conference of the Diocese of Palangkaraya. The meeting ended with a reminder to all Catholics about their role and the social issues they face. The conference also provided an opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of St Mary's Cathedral in the presence of thousands of faithful.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - At the annual Pastoral Conference of the Diocese of Palangkaraya in the province of Central Kalimantan, Borneo, the local bishop and priests carried out a thorough analysis of the Church's "internal" problems and society's "external" evils, most notably rampant corruption and its negative impact on economic development.

Bishop AM Sutrisnaatmaka talked to AsiaNews about the conclusions reached during the week of meetings and discussions held in March. On the last two days of the event, the venue was open to religious and faithful. Thousands of people came to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the construction of St Mary's Cathedral, the diocese's most famous and popular place of worship.

Priests, nuns and lay people travelled thousands of kilometres to take part in the event, often making their way on almost impracticable roads covered in water and mud. Yet, many accepted the arduous journey in order to be present at the most important event of the year in the life of the local Catholic community.

As Bishop Sutrisnaatmaka noted, the most important issues facing the local Church and civil society were addressed at the conference in Palangkaraya, which saw the participation of 60 diocesan priests.

"It was a very significant event," the prelate told AsiaNews. "We analysed the most important social issues facing the Church and society."

With regards to the diocese, the "poor results" achieved in spreading the Christian faith were addressed head on, including "low community participation" and even poorer observance of "Catholic values" in everyday life.

Poverty was seen as one of society's endemic problems, negatively affecting the general level of education of the population. The limited results of environmental care are another.

At the end, Mgr Sutrisnaatmaka issued a general warning for priests, nuns, consecrated and lay people, in which he urged them to fight on every front against "the scourge of corruption."

"In our annual meeting," the prelate noted, "we sought to raise awareness about the problem in order to reduce or at least limit corruption's impact on society."

"I personally asked Diocesan Secretary Fr Hardana I Ketut Adi to monitor progress in the diocese," the bishop of Palangkaraya said. "This might not solve the problem, but I am sure that this meeting will help improve the situation."

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