09/02/2019, 16.43
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Mgr Suharyo’s appointment as cardinal causes joy and pride in Indonesia

by Mathias Hariyadi

On 5 October, Pope Francis will hold a consistory for the future cardinal and twelve other prelates. Muslims and Protestants share Catholics’ satisfaction. His distinctive traits are humility, insight and spiritual depth, says Mgr Yustinus Harjosusanto.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – I thank "all the faithful for the affection shown to me at this time, but the strong emotions I feel at the moment keep me from making any statement," Mgr Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo (pictured), told AsiaNews.

Yesterday, Pope Francis announced at the Angelus in St Peter's Square that the 69-year-old Archbishop of Jakarta, who also chairs the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Indonesia (KWI), was among 13 new cardinals, including ten electors, who will be appointed at the consistory to be held on 5 October. “Their origins,” the pontiff said, “express the missionary vocation of the Church, which continues to proclaim the merciful love of God to all people on earth.”

The news of the archbishop's appointment was welcomed across the country. Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin was among the first to congratulate Mgr Suharyo.

Ahmad Syafi'i Maarif, one of the most famous Islamic intellectuals and a former leader of Muhammadiyah, the country's second largest moderate Islamic organisation, expressed "best wishes to my best friend for his new job".

Maarif and the archbishop built a strong bond of friendship in the 1990s, when both taught in two separate universities in Yogyakarta. "I am personally convinced that with his extensive hands-on experience as Archbishop of Jakarta he can carry out his apostolate very well," he noted.

Rev Gomar Gultom, general secretary of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (the country’s most important Protestant organisation), also knows the archbishop well. “He is a good example of Catholic leadership, a figure who gives comfort to all communities”. His appointment is a “source of pride for Catholics and the nation.”

Rev Father Zacharias Lintas, the first ethnic Dayak to become a diocesan priest in Ketapang (West Kalimantan province) agrees. Fr Lintas and Mgr Suharyo studied together for seven years at the minor seminary in Mertoyudan (Magelang, Central Java) and as many years at the St Paul major seminary in Yogyakarta. For him, the Pope’s decision “is big news for the Catholic Church in Indonesia".

For Fr Yohanes Gunawan, a priest in the Archdiocese of Semarang (Central Java), "humility is one of Mgr Suharyo’s major traits."

Mgr Yustinus Harjosusanto, archbishop of Samarinda (East Kalimantan), adds that “his humble deeds are shown through his soft-spoken manners.”

“Mgr Suharyo also stands out for his charismatic leadership. During KWI meetings, he always promotes a participatory approach. He often gives others the honour of chairing them and offers to write summaries and final documents.”

Ultimately, his “humility comes with insight and spiritual depth. His appointment is well deserved. As Catholics and Indonesians, it is an honour for us."

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