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CATHOLIC CHURCH SUPPORTS PANCASILA, INDONESIAN BISHOPS TELL PRESIDENT SUHARTO

Updated: February 11, 1986 05:00 PM GMT
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"Pancasila," Indonesia´s national creed which requires belief in one God, humanism, nationalism, democracy and social justice, has Catholic Church support, Indonesian bishops have told President Suharto.

Six of the nine presidium members of the Bishops´ Conference of Indonesia (MAWI) expressed the Church position in a visit to Suharto Jan. 26. They were:

-- Carmelite Bishop Francis X. Hadisumarta of Malang, chairman of MAWI.

-- Sacred Heart Bishop P. Hardjasoemarta of Purwokerto, secretary general.

-- Capuchin Archbishop Alfred Datubara of Medan, vice chairman.

-- Capuchin Archbishop Hieronymus Bunbun of Pontianak, vice chairman.

-- Sacred Heart Bishop Joseph Soudant of Palembang, treasurer.

-- Jesuit Archbishop Leo Soekoto of Jakarta.

Bishop Hardjasoemarta told the president Indonesia´s Catholic citizens are obliged to accept, observe and put Pancasila (Five Principles) into practice.

According to Bishop Datubara, when several Catholic associations questioned whether to accept a government ruling that Pancasila be the sole principle for social and mass organizations in Indonesia, MAWI encouraged them to do so.

The bishops told Suharto about the November 1985 meeting at which they were elected MAWI´s new officers and during which pastoral concerns were discussed.

The Church is involved in education, health and cultural works, Bishop Hardjasoemarta said, and many Catholics work for national development.

MAWI adheres to Vatican Council II directives on the Church in the modern world, and "as members of the Church, we are also obliged to be involved in society," Bishop Hardjasoemarta said.

This, he added, is backed by both Indonesian society and the Pancasila state.

Giving Suharto a copy of MAWI´s revised Guide for Indonesian Catholics, which incorporates Pancasila, Bishop Hardjasoemarta said that development is for both material welfare and spiritual achievements.

The secretary general also said that the 1984 National Meeting of Indonesian Catholics -- marking the Church´s 450 years in Indonesia -- re-emphasized that "participation of Catholics in development should be intensified."

-- Telling the bishops about the history of Pancasila since its inception in 1945, the president said that it has weathered obstacles and obstruction.

Suharto blamed a communist coup in 1965 on the neglect of Pancasila, adding, "From this experience, we then became aware that as the generation of the New Order we should try to keep Pancasila purely."

While acknowledging there are still many abuses and inconsistencies in the practice of Pancasila, he said that with Pancasila laws, Indonesia should be able to build a nation that is strong materially and spiritually.

With Pancasila´s acceptance, he said, unity will not be eroded by ideologies.

END

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