06/16/2022, 15.04
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Card Suharyo urges lay Catholics to work for a better Indonesia

by Mathias Hariyadi

The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia addressed a national meeting of lay pastoral workers. "Work does not only mean making a living,” said the prelate. Catholics should strive to “create a better social structure in society.” An example to follow is “The economy of Francesco”, a template for a fairer economy promoted by Pope Francis and young people.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Jakarta Archbishop Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo spoke at a recent meeting of the Lay Apostolate Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia.

In his address to the participants, the cardinal said: “As lay people in the Catholic Church of Indonesia, you are called to contribute through your work and professional expertise to improve the world in socio-political and economic terms, to give life to a more equitable society.”

The four-day gathering brought together scores of pastoral workers from all 37 dioceses of the country, along with the leaders of 12 lay associations.

"Work does not only mean making a living,” said the prelate, who also heads the Bishops’ Conference. “It is also a mission whereby Catholics are expected to participate in God’s noble works to bring about his Kingdom and politically create a better social structure in society.”

He cited the example of the young economists who heeded the pope’s call and gathered online inspired by Saint Francis of Assisi for “The Economy of Francesco” conference.

In Indonesia, Catholic civil society groups have always made a significant contribution to the growth of society.

Indonesia’s Catholic Youth organisation (Pemuda Katolik) was one of the groups of young Indonesian nationalists, from various religious backgrounds, that took part in the Youth Pledge (Sumpah Pemuda) in 1928.

The pledge itself said: “We the sons and daughters of Indonesia, acknowledge one motherland, Indonesia. [. . .] one nation, the nation of Indonesia” and “the language of unity, Indonesian.”

As the cardinal likes to say, that pledge was made at a meeting held at Jakarta’s Catholic Cathedral.

After independence in 1945, lay Catholics continued to make their contribution. Many Catholic groups are still active in many areas, from outreach to education.

Fr Hans Jeharut, secretary of the Lay Apostolate Commission, hopes that the meeting will give rise to "a roadmap for all Catholic activists, to face together the challenges of our society.”

Justina Rostiawati, president of the Indonesian Catholic Women organisation (Wanita Katolik Republik Indonesia), was also present at the meeting.

For her, “The cardinal’s inspiring presentation strongly motivates me to have the guts to leave our conform zone to seek new challenges for the sake of our society.”

The meeting was also a source of motivation for Karina, a journalist with the weekly Hidup Katolik, “to be more accurate and wiser when writing about sensitive issues, including the coverage of the next general election in 2024.”

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