11/06/2014, 00.00
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Indonesian bishops' new Church "models" for mission and ministry

by Mathias Hariyadi
The Indonesian Bishops' Conference is underway until 13 November with all 37 diocesan bishops present. Following Pope Francis' lead, the prelates are focusing on sensitive social issues. A Muslim scholar, who praises the country's multicultural nature, is also present.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The annual meeting of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Indonesia (KWI), currently underway in Jakarta from 1 to 13 November, brought together all of the country's  37 bishops to discuss new Church "models" in Indonesia to propose in their respective dioceses. Theologians and lay people, two nuns and a Muslim scholar are also among the participants.

During a preliminary three-day workshop, theologians and prelates focused on the renewed commitment to the pastoral and social care for the weakest sections of the population, like people living with HIV-AIDS in remote areas of Papua, single mothers, women victims of sexual violence, the poor and the marginalised.

"The bishops are challenged to show greater sensitivity on sensitive social issues" of major importance in modern society, Fr Kamilus Pantus told AsiaNews. In his view, following Pope Francis' lead, priests are also called to leave their comfort zone and become active and involved in the affairs of society.

The seminar saw the participation of a Jesuit priest (Fr Krispurwana Cahyadi), a diocesan priest (Fr Pantus), a Franciscan monk and teacher (Fr Eddy Kristianto), two nuns (Sisters Sesilia Widiastari CB and Tasiana Eny) and an expert in Islamic law (Achmad Fedyani Saifudin).

The latter talked about the peculiarities of Indonesia, a nation founded on the principle of unity in diversity as outlined in the Constitution and the idea of Pancasila. "This cultural richness should not be eliminated but should instead be politically preserved."

In his speech, Fr Eddy Kristianto explained the position of the Church on the subject of mission, from Paul VI and John Paul II to Pope Francis' Evangelii Gaudium.

Sister Sesilia Widiastari focused instead on the difficulties and hopes in working daily with people with HIV/AIDS in Papua, whilst Sister Tasiana talked about the victims of violence, single mothers and other categories of women at risk.

For Fr Pantus, starting with the question 'What new model of Church will be proposed', Indonesian bishops will discuss the new "mission model" proposed by the Argentine Pope.

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