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Politics not for priests, says conference

Committee secretary says it's the preserve of lay people, not the clergy

  • Simon Seboraga, Samarinda
  • Indonesia
  • October 25, 2011
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The executive secretary of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference’s Commission for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs has said that the involvement in practical politics is the task of lay people instead of priests.

“Lay people should not get bishops or priests into practical politics. Getting them involved means that lay people have no self-confidence,” Father Antonius Benny Susetyo told 40 politicians attending a forum held on the weekend in the diocesan office’s hall in Samarinda, East Kalimantan.

Asserting that the hierarchy has got into politics by voicing their consciences, he called on lay people to change their way of thinking. “The hierarchy’s role is merely to guide in terms of morality,” he said.

Blasius Watu of the Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) suggested that both hierarchy and lay people should find a common understanding about their roles in politics.

“A medium in which the hierarchy and lay people can exchange views on the issue is needed,” the politician said.

Margaretha Rini Puspa Nereng, however, blamed the hierarchy for not supporting Catholics willing to take part in politics.

“The hierarchy should be brave in giving such support,” the legislator said.

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