Thomas Aquino Legowo left behind inspiring works and a spirit to continue fighting for social justice and the nation’s well being. (Photo courtesy of Formappi)
The church in Indonesia has remembered a well-known Catholic activist who died earlier this year, saying he left behind a legacy that can inspire Catholic leaders to become more involved in socio-political issues.
Thomas Aquino Legowo, 57, served as a socio-political researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Jakarta from 1984 until 2007.
He founded Indonesian Parliament Watch, known as Formappi, in 2001 and was secretary of the Legal and Human Rights Desk of the Presidential Advisory Board.
Legowo died of a heart attack on March 29.
"He learned from his patron saint, Thomas Aquinas, who didn’t get involved in practical politics but was keen on doing research and writing articles on socio-political issues," said Margana, editor of a new book on Legowo Peneliti Sejati, Pejuang Demokrasi (A True Researcher, a Fighter of Democracy), at a memorial service for the Catholic activist on July 24 in Jakarta.
Legowo helped make the Catholic Church’s stance on socio-politics clear and played a significant role on the Commission for the Laity of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference from 1998 until 2014, he said.
"He took part in drafting a number of pastoral letters which were related to socio-political issues," Margana said.
Sebastian Salang, coordinator of Formappi, said Legowo left him and his fellows inspiring works and a spirit to continue fighting for social justice and the nation’s wellbeing.
"His love of this nation and the Catholic Church was huge. He always assured me that no fight was unworthy and that there was no vain hope,” he told ucanews.com.
Harry Tjan Silalahi, a senior researcher at CSIS, said Legowo was not afraid to speak the truth and ruffle feathers.
"In 2014 he wrote a report on the performance of each legislator. He was brave enough to give bad evaluations to those who performed badly. This wasn’t easy though, but he did it because he wanted to reveal the truth," he said.
Father Edy Purwanto, secretary-general of the bishops’ conference, said Legowo was "best friend to the hierarchy."
"He got involved in the Catholic Church’s services through the bishops’ conference," he said. "When the bishops’ Commission for the Laity tried hard to confirm itself as a commission focusing on socio-political issues, he contributed greatly through his writing and thoughts," he said.
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