01/27/2015, 00.00
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Catholic intellectuals come together in Jakarta to boost Church's presence in society

by Royani Lim
For the first time, the Commission for the Lay Apostolate of the Indonesian Bishops' Conference brings hundreds of Catholic scholars and intellectuals to the capital in order to create a space for networking on a regular basis.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The Commission for the Lay Apostolate of the Indonesian Bishops Conference (Komisi Kerawam KWI) created an association that brings together Catholic intellectuals and scholars for the purpose of promoting spirituality and the value of the Christian presence in the country.

Last week, the bishops organised a meeting in the region of Greater Jakarta, attended by about 60 prominent figures of culture, science and education.

The goal of the event was to facilitate networking among hundreds of Catholic scholars and intellectuals who so far have acted as individuals, and have never been able to enjoy the advantages of being in an "association".

Komisi Kerawam KWI general secretary Fr Guido Suprapto said that this was the association's first ever gathering (pictured). Recently created, the group wants to strengthen catholic spirituality and boost cooperation among Catholic intellectuals.

The group is meant as a space for participants to come together and share experiences and ideas on a regular basis in order to understand the role of scholars in society and evaluate their professional progress. 

The Archbishop of Jakarta Mgr Suharyo Ignatius attended the event. After leading the opening Mass, he addressed the conference with his own personal reflection.

The prelate told those present that historical change is inherent in Jesus' mission. Through it, he transformed God image from one of omnipotence to one of mercy.

Eko Sudrajit, an expert in management, technology and telecommunication, said that Catholic intellectuals must be models, references and leaders in society.

In his view, they must show "passion" for their work, understand and meet the needs of their students, as well as bolster integrity and morality.

Intellectuals, he added, should be "good listeners, collaborators, friends and at the same time innovators."

In his address, the archbishop of Jakarta spoke about his personal experiences as a teacher and educator, based on three core values: inspiration, meditation, and social transformation.

In our world, the Kingdom of God is the transformation of a social reality that knows how to listen and pay attention to the poor and marginalised, the prelate said.

The examples the prelate cited included Muhammad Yunus, a pioneer in microcredit and microfinance in Bangladesh and around the world.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation. Christians represent 5.7 per cent of the population with Catholics just over 3.6 per cent.

The latter are an active part of society. Over the years, they have contributed to the nation's development and played a major role in emergency operations, as was the case during the devastating floods of January 2013.

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