ASIA/INDONESIA - Upcoming elections: "Catholics in politics to build the common good"

Thursday, 4 April 2019 politics   elections   human rights   religious minorities   religious freedom  

Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) - "Our position is clear: as Indonesian citizens, Catholics participate in politics in a broad sense. We hope that a legal and transparent process is respected in the electoral campaign and during the elections, looking at the themes and candidates with discernment, in the perspective of good governance and the common good of the country": this was declared to Agenzia Fides by Father P.C. Siswantoko, Executive Secretary of the Commission for the Apostolate of the Laity in the Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia, as the country prepares for the April 14 elections when the new president, and the Parliament of 575 seats, several regional assemblies will be elected.
"The Catholic Church judges with the government and the action of the Parliament starting from its patrimony of evangelical values and from its social doctrine - he explains - without directly supporting any party".
But this, says the Secretary, does not mean disengagement: "The political field should be a field of apostolate, in which Catholics, with active and direct political commitment, or as activists in civil society can contribute by bringing a vision of the common good, proposing a perspective with which to address the various socio-political issues, which is the perspective of the centrality of the person and of human dignity, where all the people and the whole Indonesian nation can benefit from".
"The Episcopal Conference of Indonesia - clarifies the priest - considers politics as a 'good thing', as the highest form of charity, since its original nature is that of contributing and building the common good: this is why in politics the contribution of Catholics with their heritage of values of honesty, transparency, solidarity, respect for human rights is also necessary".
This is why Fr. P.C. Siswantoko encourages the 151 Catholics present on the electoral roll throughout the nation (out of about 8,000 candidates) and concludes: "As Christians we are called to engage in politics: we cannot ignore the opportunity to exercise our civil rights in society. The elections trepresent one of the moments in which to demonstrate our commitment to become salt and light of the world. It is not easy: the main challenge for lay Catholics today is to get involved, being willing to leave their comfort zone. As Catholics we are less than 10 million people out of about 270 million inhabitants, the vast majority Muslims - the elections represent for us a moment in which we can demonstrate our social responsibility and also our love for the nation". (MH-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 4/4/2019)