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Indonesian cardinal targets social ills in Independence Day message

Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo calls for unity to fight graft, violence and threats to environment
Indonesian cardinal targets social ills in Independence Day message

Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo has called on all Indonesians to fight against corruption and violence as the nation marks its Independence Day on Aug. 17. (Photo: Konradus Epa/UCA News)

Published: August 17, 2020 07:49 AM GMT
Updated: August 17, 2020 07:55 AM GMT

Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta has called on Indonesians to work together to fight corruption, violence and climate change in a message to mark the country’s Independence Day on Aug. 17.
 
Unlike in previous years when Independence Day was celebrated with great fanfare across the archipelago, this year’s independence ceremony was celebrated online from the presidential palace due to the Covid-19 pandemic
 
“Although we celebrate independence this year amid the Covid-19 outbreak which is faced by other nations in the world, the ideals of our nation are not yet compromised,” Cardinal Suharyo said in his video message.
 
The ideals of the nation — unity, sovereignty, justice and prosperity — oblige all elements in society to work towards a common interest.
 
But corruption, violence and environmental damage are threatening to destroy these national ideals, according to the prelate.

Indonesia continues to be blighted by high-profile corruption cases, unrest in Papua and violent acts of terrorism or intolerance by religious extremists. Meanwhile, the destruction of rainforests and pollution resulting from slash and burn farming and plastic waste are seen as black marks against the nation.  
 
“The threat from these three ills is becoming bigger every year,” the cardinal said.
  
“When celebrating the [independence] anniversary, we should not only commemorate it but take it as our responsibility … to build and realize the common good.”
 
He asked all Indonesians to celebrate the country’s independence with great joy despite facing hardships due to Covid-19.
 
Although facing a dire situation now, it is the task of Catholics to work towards social justice and promote the national ideals in families, communities, parishes and basic communities.
 
Vincentius Hargo Mandirahardjo, chairman of the Association of Indonesian Catholic Intellectuals (ISKA), echoed the call. "It is our responsibility as citizens to overcome these challenges for the progress of our nation," he told UCA News.
 
Jesuit Father Francis Xavier Mudji Sutrisno, a professor at Jakarta’s Driyarkara School of Philosophy, said the three social ills raised by the cardinal must be a priority of the government.
 
“The law must be enforced fairly to overcome corruption, violence and environmental damage. If the law can still be sidestepped, these problems will never stop,” he told UCA News.  
 
He said Indonesian politics is still tarnished by a lack of morality. Democracy without legal certainty provides fertile ground for violence, corruption and acts detrimental to the environment, he said.
 
“We must all work hand in hand to end such practices and put our selfishness, group or personal interests behind us to achieve a better society,” he said.

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