11/06/2012, 00.00
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In Jakarta Indonesian Catholics launch mass campaign against corruption

by Mathias Hariyadi
A two-day seminar of discussions and reflections is organised. The aim of the 'ethical leadership programme' based on the Jesuit spiritual retreat model is to turn ideas into actions. Indonesia's Bishops' Conference is behind the initiative whose goal is the "internalisation of an anti-corruption spirit."

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Indonesia's Catholics have launched a massive campaign against corruption. Their aim is to restore the country's moral fibre and plant the seeds of good government and honest administration of the public good.

After four months of discussions, promoters of greater morality in public life organised a meeting in central Jakarta last week-end with the participation of scores of priests, men and women religious as well as lay Catholics from various walks of life.

Working with Bhumiksara Foundation, which operates in the capital, and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Indonesia (KWI), the seminar focused on an 'ethical leadership programme' developed by EHEM!, an anti-corruption initiative founded by the Jesuits in the Philippines and active throughout Southeast Asia

The goal of the two-day event promoted by Indonesian Church leaders, based on the model of spiritual retreat, is the "internalisation of an anti-corruption spirit" that creates a real community. On the long run, the goal is to involve Catholics, individually and through their associations, in creating an "anti-corruption mass movement."

The two-day meeting in Jakarta represents an important moment in the history of Catholic outreach and this for three reasons. For the first time, the local Bishops' Conference is directly involved in implementing a plan (adopted in 2006) after years of talk and good intentions. Secondly, the Bhumiksara Foundation, an important NGO committed to ethics and morality in society, is a initiator. Lastly, the seminar attracted a variety of people and groups, ranging from professionals and human rights activists to university students and nuns, called to work together in a common struggle.

Seminar promoters organised the spiritual retreat along the lines of Saint Ignatius. During the conference, participants meditate and elaborate proposals starting with their personal experience. Early next month, a similar event will be held in the Diocese of Purwokerto.

The goal is to analyse problems in light of the ethics and morality promoted by the Catholic Church, together with everyone's commitment to create a better model of society. This method brings together reflection and action, aided by daily prayers and the Eucharist.

Corruption is one of the most serious problems in Asia. In countries like Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Vietnam and the Philippines, it is not only widespread in the public sector and large companies, but it is also experienced at a micro level and costs billions of dollars.

Every year, the authorities of these countries announce new commissions to fight the problem, only to see their efforts become means by which some factions pursue their own interests.

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