ASIA/INDONESIA - Towards the elections: Catholics in Indonesia support Pancasila

Tuesday, 8 May 2018 religious freedom   freedom of conscience   human rights   politics   justice   religious minorities  

Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) - 2018 is an important year for the political situation in Indonesia. Citizens will participate in two political events: firstly, the administrative elections in all the regions; secondly, there will be the registration and presentation of candidates for the 2019 presidential elections. As Agenzia Fides learns, in view of these important events that touch the civil life of the nation, Indonesian Catholics, in different areas of the composite nation, have organized various initiatives and activities that aim at supporting the "Pancasila", or the "Charter of the five principles" that is at the basis of the nation.
In the Archdiocese of Jakarta all religious and social activities are based on the pastoral theme chosen for 2018: "Practicing Pancasila: We are Diverse, We are Indonesia". On April 27th during an Easter celebration organized by the Church they joined several Muslim faithful, while in Semarang in a public demonstration the faithful reiterated their support for Pancasila. In Manado, many parishes participated in the procession on April 30th and a gathering for the solemn opening of the 150th Jubilee anniversary of the Catholic Church in the diocese of Manado. In all these events Indonesian Christians brought Indonesian flags and the emblems of the state, reiterating their feeling and their spirit of being fully Indonesian, faithful to the roots of the nation, and fully Christian.
In this context, the first national coordination meeting of the "Vox Point Institute" (VPI), a Catholic lay association, was held in recent days, with the participation of representatives from all over the nation, who gathered in Jakarta from 29 April to 1 May, on the theme "In the spirit of Pancasila, preserving diversity". In the final statement of the meeting, sent to Agenzia Fides, it is stated that Vox Point will try to identify potential Catholic candidates who have integrity, quality and firmness in protecting Pancasila.
In addressing the 2018 regional elections and the 2019 presidential elections, "we lay people firmly reject campaigns that exploit ethnic and religious issues and propagate hate speech, false news and intimidation, we reject mobilizations that generate fear and intimidation of voters and also attempts to weaken or even replace the Pancasila ideology. We will participate actively in dialogue with various groups of society". Reaffirming the intent to "cultivate dignified, fair, peaceful, honest, transparent political attitudes, to promote national unity", the statement says: "We ask all citizens to use their right to vote with awareness and we urge local government authorities, law enforcement agencies, other institutions to counteract movements that obscure the Pancasila ".
The text recalls the motto of the national hero, the Jesuit Albertus Soegijapranata SJ when he claimed to be "100% Catholic and 100% Indonesian", and proposes ways to strengthen the call to be "salt and light of the world".
The VPI was officially created in 2016 as a forum for lay Catholics who wish to promote and become involved in socio-political activities in Indonesia. In the Mass celebrated at the meeting, Archbishop Ignazio Suharyo, at the head of the archdiocese of Jakarta, said: "With our strength we will not be able to face this great challenge, we trust in God's help and grace. We are committed to building brotherhood and achieving a just and peaceful coexistence, cultivating the values of unity in diversity, according to Pancasila".
The five principles that form the Pancasila and which inspire the Indonesian Constitution are: faith in the one and only God; justice and human civilization; unity of Indonesia; democracy guided by inner wisdom; social justice for all the people. (PP) (Agenzia Fides, 8/5/2018)