People take photos of Pope Francis, center, during a visit to St. Louis Hospital in Bangkok on Nov. 21. Indonesia’s Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta has called on Catholic lawmakers to follow the pope’s example. (Photo: AFP)
The president of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference (KWI) has called on the nation’s Catholic politicians to follow the example of Pope Francis if they want to be good leaders.
“Pope Francis is the greatest salt of the earth and the greatest light of the world,” Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta said in a homily during a Nov. 20 special Mass in Jakarta for Catholic politicians from across the country.
He said the pope “could not have become the person he is right now if he had not experienced God’s mercy.” That experience transformed him into a person who sides with those in need, he added.
Cardinal Suharyo then quoted Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium, an apostolic exhortation to bishops, clergy, consecrated persons and lay faithful on proclaiming the Gospel in today’s world.
“I ask God to give us more politicians capable of sincere and effective dialogue aimed at healing the deepest roots — and not simply the appearances — of the evils in our world. Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, in as much as it seeks the common good,” he said.
“We need to be convinced that charity ‘is the principle not only of micro-relationships [with friends, with family members or within small groups] but also of macro-relationships [social, economic and political ones].
“I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor. It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and health care.”
Cardinal Suharyo called on Catholic politicians to become agents of transformation for the sake of the Church and society.
“You have chosen the political path as a response to God’s call to live a perfect Christian life. You are called to serve the Church and the nation,” he told them.
Andreas Eddy Susetyo, a lawmaker in Indonesia’s lower house, told ucanews that Cardinal Suharyo’s rallying cry was “very inspirational.”
He said he would follow the pope’s example in pushing to improve people’s lives regarding employment, education and health care.
Herman Yogobi, a member of Papua province’s legislative council, also welcomed the prelate’s call.
“I was chosen by the people, so I must fight for them and the Church. I have to be among them in order to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world in their eyes,” he said.
According to Father Paulus Christian Siswantoko, secretary of the KWI’s Commission for the Laity, there are more than 900 Catholic legislative council members across Indonesia.