Bishop Suharyo’s appointment is a sign of the Pope's esteem for the Indonesian Church
by Mathias Hariyadi

The Archbishop of Jakarta will receive the red biretta in the consistory of 5 October. This morning, he met the media at the diocesan headquarters. For the prelate, “the Holy Father wanted to honour the nation, certainly not to my personal achievements". Local Catholics are "a good model" for peace, tolerance and compassion.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The appointment of Jakarta Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo as cardinal reflects Pope Francis' respect and esteem for the Catholic Church of Indonesia, this according to the new cardinal himself.

Mgr Suharyo, who is also president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia (KWI), is one of ten prelates who will receive the red biretta on 5 October, during the consistory the Pope announced four days ago.

"With his choice, the Holy Father wanted to honour the nation, certainly not to my personal achievements," said the prelate.

This morning, Mgr Suharyo held a press conference with national and foreign media at the diocesan headquarters. The archbishop explained to the reporters what, in his opinion, led him to be included in the College of Cardinals.

"In the first place, since I met the Pope on several occasions, the Holy See has been monitoring and assessing the Indonesian Catholic Church for quite some time,” he explained.  “The latter is seen as a good model for every Church in the world, for how to practise the Christian faith by promoting peace, tolerance, and a spirit of compassion towards others."

"Especially in Indonesia, the Catholic Church has been able to make peaceful and friendly gestures towards all fellow citizens despite differences in terms of religion, cultures, languages and social values.”

"In this regard, the Pope and his closest advisers have repeatedly expressed to me their appreciation. This good impression finds its logical basis in the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, signed in Abu Dhabi by Pope Francis and the Great Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayyib.”

"In the text, the two leaders encourage us to promote the values ​​of peace and humanity in the governance of international social relations."

According to the archbishop, a major aspect that contributed to his appointment are the historic and close diplomatic relations between Jakarta and the Holy See. The Vatican was among the first states to recognise Indonesia's independence, just one year after the 1945 Declaration.