Speeches 1989 - Blue House, Seoul
Sunday, 8 October 1989
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. It is very appropriate that we should meet together this afternoon while the experience of the closing celebration of the Eucharistic Congress is still fresh in our minds. This morning’s Mass was truly a statio orbis, an immense congregation of pilgrims from throughout the world. United around the Table of the Lord, our common prayer was a powerful expression of that communion of the particular Churches in union with the Successor of Peter, from which and in which Christ’s one Catholic Church exists (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 23). Composed of men and women of so many races and nations, it was a palpable reminder that God has established his Church to be the visible sacrament of the unity of the entire human race (Lumen Gentium LG 9).
In greeting all of you, who represent the immense amount of labour, planning and prayer which have made this Eucharistic Congress such an inspiring and memorable event, I wish to express my appreciation for all that you have done to make these days so enriching an ecclesial event for so many people. In the first place, my thanks go to the delegates, who have come to Seoul from countries and peoples spread far and wide across the face of the earth. Your unity in prayer and brotherhood before the Eucharistic Lord has been a powerful witness to the universality of Christ’s call to holiness and to membership in his Mystical Body. I am grateful as well to Cardinal Opilio Rossi and to the members of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, to Cardinal Kim and the members of the Hosting Committee, and to all the volunteers, whose dedicated service contributed significantly to the organization of this great assembly. A very special expression of thanks must go to our Christian brothers and sisters who prayed with us for Church Unity, as well as to our brothers and sisters of other spiritual traditions who prayed for true peace in our world.
2. Dear friends: Every Eucharistic Congress provides us with an opportunity to deepen our gratitude to God for the many graces which he has bestowed upon his Church. In Jesus Christ, each of us has received a very real and personal call to be born into a new life, the life of grace. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, poured out upon us at our Baptism and Confirmation, we have been made members of the Body of Christ, which is the Church (Cfr. Eph Ep 1,22). Once incorporated into the Church, we are called to deepen our union with Christ, “from whom we go forth, through whom we live, and towards whom our whole life is directed” (Lumen Gentium LG 3).
Our gratitude for God’s gifts is perfectly expressed in the Church’s celebration of the Eucharist.Conscious of our sins and our unworthiness, we nonetheless rejoice in the grace which has made us children of God and co-heirs with Christ. Through Christ, with him and in him, we have been enabled to offer the Father that perfect sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving which is the self-oblation of his Son upon the altar of the Cross. As our High Priest (Cfr. Hebr. 2, 17), the Risen Lord gathers his Church together in an eternal Liturgy, to the glory of God the Father and for the sanctification of all mankind (Cfr. Sacrosanctum Concilium SC 7).
3. As we leave Seoul, having participated in this International Eucharistic Congress, I would ask you to nourish in your hearts a deep appreciation of the gifts which Christ continually bestows upon his Church, and in particular, for that supreme gift which is the Eucharist. Our gratitude for the Sacrament of the Eucharist is ultimately rooted in our recognition of the fact that there is nothing we have that we have not first received from God, the Father of mercies (2Co 1,3). Saint Paul introduces his account of the Last Supper with these words: “I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you” (1Co 11,23). The Eucharist, this great “mystery of faith”, remains first and foremost a gift, something “received”. The Church has received the Eucharist from Christ and in celebrating this sacrament she gives thanks to God our Father for all that he has given us in Jesus his Son.
For our part, we must receive this gift anew at every celebration of the Eucharist, and strive to let its divine power pervade our hearts. That, dear friends, is the challenge that now faces you as you leave Seoul and make your way to your homes, your families and your communities. Only by living in communion with “Christ our Peace” in an attitude of humility and awe, will you be able to experience the Eucharist’s profound spiritual power.Only by accepting Christ’s gift with gratitude for all that he has done for us, will you be enabled by the Holy Spirit to fulfil the vocation which God has given to you as members of the Church. Only by recognizing in Jesus and in the gift of his Eucharistic Sacrifice the source of that truth which alone can set you free, will your hearts be purified to render God true worship and to work for the coming of his Kingdom of justice and peace.
4. For the many gifts which the Lord has showered upon us in these days, and for all those that he continues to shower upon the Church, let us give thanks. And let us pray that this Forty-fourth International Eucharistic Congress may strengthen the entire Church in her witness to Jesus Christ, risen from the dead for our salvation. May God grant that these days of prayer bear fruit in true conversion, in an increase of holiness and in a renewed commitment to work for the unity and peace of all mankind.
Once again, I thank you for all that you have done to make these days a success. Let us now go forth to live that new life which Christ has given us in Baptism and which he renews in us at every celebration of the Eucharist. Upon all of you I invoke the grace of “Christ our Peace”, and I commend you to the intercession of his beloved Mother, Queen of Peace. To each of you I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.
Monday, 9 October 1989
Mr Prime Minister,
Beloved People of Korea,
1. As I prepare to leave Korea, my thoughts are filled with the joy of these days. I am grateful to all of you for the warmth and affection which you have shown to me and to the many pilgrims from throughout the world who have come to Seoul for the Eucharistic Congress. I wish to thank you, Mr Prime Minister, for the assistance which the Korean government provided in making this pilgrimage possible. My deep gratitude goes also to the municipal authorities of Seoul, to the army engineers, the security forces and to all who helped in any way to ensure the orderly and smooth running of the Congress.
2. Within these next few days, all of us will be returning to our homes and our daily activities. But the great events, the moments of profound prayer, the precious spiritual consolations of the Eucharistic Congress will not be forgotten; for they have touched our hearts with a powerful spiritual energy, an energy which comes from God himself. The spiritual richness of these days in Seoul will have a quiet but powerful effect on the way we live our lives.
Life will go on throughout Korea as well. And yet, it is my fervent hope, dear brothers and sisters, that beneath the surface of Korea’s everyday life, its struggles and its achievements, a deeper, more mysterious process of growth, nourished by a great spiritual energy, will be taking place. It is my prayer that the seeds of spiritual renewal will be at work in the hearts of all Koreans. You, the people of Korea, are now being called to face the future with a firm resolve to work together to heal wounds that have remained open too long, and to ensure a better, more humane and free life for your children. As you respond to this historic challenge, may wisdom, prudence and charity infuse your thinking, your political activity and your vision of Korea’s true destiny as a nation.
3. Wisdom, prudence and charity are the fruit of a mature conscience and a life of virtue. Where these spiritual gifts, and the discipline of mind and heart which underlie them, are lacking, it is easy for great hopes to be frustrated and for generous spirits to become impatient at the slow pace of change. I urge all of you, especially the young, the students, parents and educators, and all those who are responsible for the political and moral life of the nation, to combine zeal for your country’s renewal and progress with the wisdom that comes from a pure heart. With sensitivity for the complexity of human and political issues, and respect for the dignity of every human being, may you be artisans of justice and peace within the ranks of your people. The Korea of tomorrow will be a better and more authentically human society as a result.
4. With renewed thanks to God for the blessings which we have shared, and with fervent hope for the continued growth of your country in the ways of justice and peace, I bid farewell to Korea and its people. I assure you of my prayers, and ask Almighty God to inspire in your hearts true sentiments of unity and peace.
Yorobune kajonggwa arumdaun nara'e Hanunim-e chukpogul pimnida.
Monday, 9 October 1989
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. It is with heartfelt joy and gratitude to Almighty God, the source of all blessings, that I have come to Indonesia. I have looked forward to this opportunity of visiting your country and meeting her people. As the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, I have naturally a special love and concern far my Indonesian brothers and sisters of the Catholic faith, and sense strongly my obligation to support and encourage them in their fidelity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
But my visit to Indonesia is not directed exclusively to Catholics. I have come as a friend to all Indonesians, with a great respect for all the people of this dynamic nation. I assure you of my prayers and best wishes that Indonesia may grow in both material and spiritual prosperity, and that each of her citizens may experience the gift of peace that comes from God.
I wish to express my deep gratitude to you, Mr President, for your gracious invitation to visit Indonesia. Your very kind offer to accept lodging at the “Wisma Negara”, which I have had to decline most respectfully, given the principally pastoral nature of my visit, has already enabled me to feel the warm hospitality of the Indonesian people. By thanking you, I wish to extend my gratitude to each of your fellow citizens, and to all those who, in any way, have assisted in making this visit possible.
2. Among the nations of the world, Indonesia enjoys a well-merited respect for her approach to the human dimensions of her growth as a nation. The challenges which face your people are indeed formidable. As the largest country in southeast Asia, Indonesia embraces peoples spread far and wide across many thousands of islands. In their great diversity, comprising hundreds of ethnic groups and a wide variety of cultures and languages, your people themselves constitute the country’s richest resource.
The creation of a unified and interdependent society from such a number of diverse groups stands out as one of Indonesia’s great achievements in her forty-four year history as a nation. The philosophy of “Pancasila” which has inspired and guided your national growth very fittingly recognizes that the only firm foundation of national unity is respect for all: respect for the differing Opinions, connections, customs and values which mark Indonesia’s many citizens. At times nations are tempted to disregard fundamental human rights in a misguided search for political unity based on military or economic power alone. But such unity can easily be dissolved. As your national tradition teaches, the most secure basis for lasting unity and development as a nation is a profound respect for human life, for the inalienable rights of the human person, and for the freedom of responsible citizens to determine their destiny as a people.
3. Indonesia’s many religious believers have an important role to play in the continuing development of the nation, for belief in God and the spiritual values which unite peoples are powerful forces for good. In this regard, I was pleased to learn of the contributions which Indonesia's Catholic citizens, from the very beginning of the Republic, have made and are continuing to make towards the advancement of their nation. Catholics have given notable service to their country’s development, particularly in the fields of education, health care and social welfare. Together with their brothers and sisters of other religious traditions, they have sought to cooperate in the task of constructing a society which is in harmony with the hopes and aspirations of all their fellow citizens. Following Catholic principles, they have sought to be of service to all men and women of good will in the pursuit of a just and peaceful social order. This cooperation for the good of society has found visible expression in many fine institutions which are widely held in high regard. We are grateful to the Almighty that this has been possible.
4. Mr President: Indonesia has indeed made remarkable advances towards realizing the goals which find such noble expression in the preamble to your nation’s Constitution. As a friend of Indonesia, I pray for the day when the ideals which guide your nation will be fully realized in the life of all her people. In acknowledging the presence of legitimate diversity, in respecting the human and political rights of all citizens, and in encouraging the growth of national unity based on tolerance and respect for others, you lay the foundations for that just and peaceful society which all Indonesians wish for themselves and long to bequeath to their children.
I assure you once again of my deep esteem and affection for the people of your country.
Semoga Allah memberkati Indonesia dengan damaiNya. Semoga Allah memberkati anda sekalian.
Tuesday, 10 October 1989
Distinguished Ministers and Members of Government,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am pleased to have this opportunity to meet you, the respected leaders of the major religious communities represented among the people of Indonesia. As the Bishop of Rome, Successor of the Apostle Peter to whom Christ entrusted a responsibility for all his disciples, I have come on this pastoral visit to Indonesia in order to strengthen the faith of my Catholic brothers and sisters (Cfr. Luc Lc 22,32). I have come to meet them, to pray with them, and to assure them that they are an important part of the Catholic Church spread throughout the world.
My visit is not restricted, however, to Indonesia’s Catholics. This country embraces within its far-flung boundaries a number of peoples, with a great richness of languages and customs. There are the traditional, indigenous religious cultures which still are found in many places. Ancient religious traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism nourish their adherents with the age-old wisdom of the East. Confucianism too has added its characteristic note, while Islam has become the religious path of the majority of Indonesians. The Catholic Church has been present here for centuries and can give thanks to God for the deep faith of generations of Indonesian Catholics. Other Christian communities also have had a long history in this nation. This impressive heritage of religious traditions is widely recognized as a significant dimension of Indonesia’s life as a nation, one that calls for profound respect from all its citizens.
For this reason, I am happy to greet you, the representatives of those communities with which Indonesia’s Catholics are in close contact. I come to you as a man of peace concerned, like yourselves, for the growth of peace and true harmony among all the peoples of the earth. I come to you as a man of faith who believes that all peace is a gift from God.It is this peace of God “which passes all understanding” (Ph 4,7) that I invoke upon all the people of Indonesia.
One of the principal challenges facing modern Indonesia is that of building a harmonious society from the many diverse elements which are the source of the nation’s present promise and future greatness. Indonesia’s Catholics find a deep motivation for their contributions to this enterprise in the vision of universal harmony which the Christian faith offers them.By our belief in the one God who is the Creator of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen, we who follow Christ are inspired to work for the advancement of peace and harmony among all people.
This Christian vision is in no way alien to the vision of unity which is characteristic of many other religions. Many religious traditions view the universe as an organic whole, whose parts are knit together in a great web of relations. From this vision is derived a respect for nature, sensitivity in human relationships, a high esteem for love and cooperation within families, a strong sense of justice and the recognition of the rights of each person. Belief in God as the Creator of all things is a powerful stimulus to promote a respectful dialogue among the adherents of the various religions. Undoubtedly, “when Christians and the followers of other religions are united in their belief in the Creator, there exists a sound basis for mutual understanding and peaceful exchange” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Allocutio ad Indonesiae episcopos limina Apostolorum visitantes 7, die 20 maii 1989: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II XII, 1  1290).
This sort of respectful dialogue and exchange can play a powerful role in the building up of a peaceful and unified society. I wish to express my hope that Indonesia’s religious believers will take the lead in showing that profound respect for others which can foster enduring harmony among the diverse peoples of this nation.
In this regard I am very encouraged by the ideals and practical structures established by the Indonesian Constitution of 1945 concerning the freedom of each citizen to profess the religion of his or her choice and to enjoy freedom of worship. It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that this right to religious freedom is grounded in the very dignity of the human person created by God (Cfr. Dignitatis Humanae DH 2). Religious freedom is indeed a fundamental human right, one which should be enjoyed by all religious communities, as well as individuals. Hence, it is very important that this right be protected, “ that the State should effectively ensure and promote the observance of religious freedom, especially when, alongside the great majority who follow one religion, there exist one or more minority groups of another faith (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Nuntius ob diem ad pacem fovendam dicatum, pro a. D. 1989, 8, die 8 dec. 1988: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Polo II, XI, 4  1788).
Distinguished friends: today more than ever the world has become sensitive to the yearning of all peoples to be free, to experience the liberty to live in accordance with the dictates of conscience, to search for the truth without constraint, and to express one’s convictions in a society which promotes authentic progress and a constructive dialogue among people of different beliefs. It is true that this yearning for freedom, unless it is disciplined and directed by a sensitivity to spiritual values and the objective principles of human morality, can degenerate into a permissiveness which enslaves rather than liberates. But this is the very reason why all religious believers should support the cause of authentic liberation by providing that spiritual vision which must necessarily inform any genuine growth in freedom.In a very real sense, it can be said that the responsibility for building a society of cooperation, tolerance and unity within diversity falls to the present generation as a sacred trust, and that Indonesia’s religious leaders have a weighty responsibility in this regard.
So too, do Indonesia’s young people. For this reason I would appeal to them with the words I addressed to young Muslims in Morocco in 1985. “Normally”, I said, “young people look towards the future, they long for a more just and more human world... (But) young people can build a better future if they first put their faith in God and if they pledge themselves to build this new world in accordance with God’s plan, with wisdom and trust” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Allocutio Albae domi, in Marochio, ad iuvenes muslimos, 6. 4, die 19 aug. 1985: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VIII, 2  501 s. 500).
This is no small challenge. Indeed, the project of working together in respectful collaboration often involves adopting new perspectives, putting past tensions or hostilities behind and looking towards the future. Each of us is called to adopt an attitude of generous service to one another and in favour of all. As the Second Vatican Council has impressed upon Catholics: “we cannot truly pray to God the Father of all if we treat any people in other than a brotherly fashion” (Nostra Aetate NAE 5).
In a culturally diverse society, “to treat others in a brotherly fashion” means to live in dialogue. This can take on a number of forms. “Before all else, dialogue is a manner of acting, an attitude and a spirit which guides one’s conduct. It implies concern, respect, and hospitality towards the other” (Secret. pro Non Christianis “Notae quaedam de Ecclesiae rationibus ad asseclas aliarum religionum”, 1984, n. 29: AAS 76  824). In other words, it involves what is often called the “dialogue of life”, where people strive to live in an open and neighbourly spirit, sharing their joys and sorrows, their human problems and preoccupations.
But there is also the “dialogue of deeds”: collaboration for the integral development of all citizens. To this can be added the important dialogue of theological exchange, by which the partners aim to grow in understanding of their respective religious heritages, and to appreciate each other’s spiritual values. And finally, there can be the dialogue of religious experience by which persons rooted in their own religious traditions share their spiritual riches, such as prayer and contemplation (Cfr. ibid. 29-35: “l. c.” PP 824-825).
In this context, a particular question merits attention. It is that of truth itself, its demands on those who believe, and its requirements for a sincere and respectful dialogue. Unless these issues are faced forthrightly and honestly, an enduring and fruitful collaboration among believers will not be possible.
The voice of conscience commits the human person at the deepest level to think and act in accordance with the truth. To act against one’s conscience would be to betray both the truth and our very selves. Religious believers therefore can never be expected to compromise the truth that they are committed to uphold in their lives.
Yet a firm adherence to the truth of one’s convictions in no way implies being closed to others. Rather it is an invitation to open oneself to the dialogue which we have already described. This is so for two reasons.
First, knowledge of the truth commits us to share the gift we have received with others. In the Holy Bible, Christians read that “God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (Cfr. 1Tim 1Tm 2,4). The Catholic Church is profoundly convinced that the truth, wherever it is found, can serve as a path to the one God, the Father of all. For this reason, she rejects nothing which is true and holy in other religions (Cfr. Nostra Aetate NAE 2). The Church does not waver in her belief that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14,6) and the definitive revelation of God to humanity. Yet, in the service to the truth that she has received, and in a spirit of respect and dialogue, the Church does not hesitate to cooperate with all men and women of good will for the spiritual and moral elevation of mankind and the dawn of a just and peaceful human society.
Respectful dialogue with others also enables us to be enriched by their insights, challenged by their questions and impelled to deepen our knowledge of the truth. Far from stifling dialogue or rendering it superfluous, a commitment to the truth of one’s religious tradition by its very nature makes dialogue with others both necessary and fruitful.
Here in Indonesia, the establishment by the Ministry for Religious Affairs of a national forum for communication and dialogue between religions may be viewed as a positive step. The great task of serving the truth invites you to join hands in cooperation. I offer my prayers for the success and the continuing fruitfulness of the good work that you have begun.
Dear brothers and sister: with each passing day, the unity of the human family becomes more and more apparent, even when that unity is dramatically threatened by the forces of war, violence and repression. Where spiritual values such as mutual respect, peaceful collaboration, and reconciliation are present, not only is the unity of individual groups strengthened, but the life of entire nations can well be changed and the course of history altered.
The challenge is ours. Together let us strive for mutual understanding and peace. On behalf of all mankind, let us make common cause of safeguarding and fostering those values which will build up the spiritual and moral health of our world. Let us generously serve the will of God, as we have come to know it, in a spirit of dialogue, respect and cooperation.
May God bless you all with his peace!
Tuesday, 10 October 1989
Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. "Rahmat dan damai dari Allah Bapa dan Tuhan Jesus Kristus beserta anda" (Rm 1,7).
It is my special joy to meet you, the priests and men and women religious of Indonesia, in this Cathedral of the Assumption, the oldest Catholic cathedral in your country. It is a day for us to celebrate together the goodness of the Lord. It is also an opportunity for me to encourage you to persevere and to grow in the vocation to which God has called you in the service of the Gospel. Although the Church here is comparatively young, she is rich in grace and blessings. And as you experience the joys as well as the challenges of her growth, I wish to assure you that you are close to my heart. I offer you my encouragement and my love.
You who are today’s generation of priests are heirs to the high ideals of the great missionaries who selflessly laid the foundations of the Church in Indonesia. Many of them were personally known to you. You were confirmed by their faith and led to the Lord’s service through their example. Our thoughts turn to those “faithful stewards”, who have now been called to their eternal reward but whose memory lives on. The example of their Christian life and witness is their legacy, and even now they are interceding with God for the continued fruitfulness of that part of the Lord’s vineyard which they cultivated with such loving care. One thinks of Father van Lith of Java, as well as of intrepid pastors of more recent times, such as the renowned Bishop Thijssen who laboured in Lesser Sunda, and Archbishop van den Hurk, so recently taken from us.
The high esteem in which you are held today by the Indonesian people, including those who are not Christian, is due in great measure to the dedication and moral integrity of those who have gone before you. But their powerful example also constitutes a challenge, since your Churches today continue to need holy and wise priests who are able to show the right path, however daunting or difficult.
2. I also wish to address all the religious sisters and brothers. I thank you for your consecrated witness in the Church and in the world, and for your numerous apostolates. My special greeting goes to the various groups of contemplative nuns and to the Trappist Fathers whose silent witness and prayerfilled service is so precious to the Church’s life and mission.
So many of the Church’s activities in Indonesia have been conducted under the intelligent and experienced direction of religious. Mention must be made of your work in Catholic education and catechesis, and in the important fields of health care and human development services.Catholic schools in particular enable you to advance the human knowledge and virtue of others, while at the same time making it possible for you to speak to them about Christ.
By combining the missionary zeal of religious from abroad with the fresh enthusiasm of Indonesian-born religious, you have given new life and fervour to your charisms. By maintaining your identity as religious and by persevering in your apostolates, you too have earned the love and respect of the laity and have drawn young people to your way of life. This example is a great gift not only for Indonesia, but for the whole Church.
3. “Laetentur insulae multae” – “Let the many islands rejoice” (Ps 96,1). These words of the Psalm served as the motto for one of the missionary bishops of Batavia in the last century. To you, the priests and religious of this largest archipelago in the world, I commend this motto as a key to unlock the true meaning of your lives. You will find that meaning in bearing witness to the joy of the Resurrection and in giving your life so that even the most distant islands may “rejoice” at hearing the Gospel, of which you are authentic preachers, teachers and witnesses.
In order that your witness may be credible, your lives must radiate joy and courage even in the face of adversity. This is possible only when your interior life is characterized by close communion with Christ, which is nourished through personal prayer and the practice of pastoral charity. To the degree that you grow according to the model of Christ, you will be transformed into his image. You will become a sign of hope and a living proclamation of the Resurrection.
I know that you often have to carry out your mission with means that are totally disproportionate to the task entrusted to you. Service of this kind requires great personal sacrifice and total dedication to God’s people. This is especially true in the most remote Churches: those in Kalimantan, the Moluccas, Irian and Sulawesi. Although I am not able to visit these communities personally, I know that they are represented here today, and I wish to greet them and to assure them that they too are close to my heart.
4. Although your work in the Lord’s vineyard is often arduous, you can take great encouragement from the number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life that enrich the Church in Indonesia today. I join you in giving thanks for the work of the Holy Spirit, who has been poured forth in such abundance upon your Churches. Over the last seven years the number of Indonesian priests has increased from less than eight hundred to over eleven hundred – an unparalleled blessing in our times. I also join you in thanking the Catholic families of Indonesia, in particular the parents who have so generously given their sons and daughters to the service of God.
Vocations are a sign of the healthy state of religious life as well as the result of the dedicated ministry of bishops and priests. It is preaching by good example that leads young people to embrace a life of total consecration and of ministry. Both foreign missionaries and Indonesian-born clergy, working closely together, have given a shining example of Christian life and service. Although there have been obstacles to the continued presence of the missionaries, this very problem has been turned to the Church’s good: such is the power of faith!
Since the building up of the Church is the work of God, we must never cease to pray for vocations and ask others to do the same.Although much has been accomplished, there is still more to be done: “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest” (Lc 10,2).
5. Dear brothers and sisters, we must also look to the future even as we give thanks for the blessings of the past and the graces of the present. Once initial evangelization has been completed, a new task begins: the task of forming consciences and of interiorizing the faith.This calls for renewed commitment on your part, a commitment which is absolutely necessary if the Gospel is to strike deep roots in Indonesian life and culture. Formation serves to nurture the fragile and still vulnerable plant in its early stages of growth.
You will want to provide the Catholic people with the formation needed to ensure that their acceptance of Christ, nourished within the Church, will become part of the very fabric of their lives without lapsing into mediocrity or compromise. There is need to form strong, responsible laity who recognize that faith embraces every aspect of life, and who consciously participate in the Church’s mission within the family, at work, and in social and public life.
Much of the Church’s effort is already directed towards formation through the many Institutes which have been established in Indonesia, especially those conducted by the various religious communities. Great attention has been given to human development, and this is certainly a worthy goal. But authentic human development must be rooted in an ever deeper evangelization. Perhaps it is time to identify new forms of pastoral outreach, in close cooperation with the bishops, according to the spirit of the Gospel parable which praises the scribe who was capable of bringing out of his treasure “what is new and what is old” (Mt 13,52).
Formation is not meant only for the laity. Priests and religious also need to deepen their faith through lifelong study and reflection in keeping with their state in life and the needs of their apostolates. The aim is to grow in knowledge and love of Christ and the Church her teaching, worship and discipline – so that we may be sure of – “speaking the truth in love” and of “growing up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body upbuilds itself” (Cfr. Eph Ep 4,15-16).
Reflection on the future of the Church in Indonesia should also take into account the complementary roles of clergy and laity, as well as their unity in the Eucharist, which is the “source and summit of all evangelization” (Presbyterorum Ordinis PO 5) and “of all Christian life” (Lumen Gentium LG 11). The presence of sacred ministers among God’s people is part of his providence, and I commend the priests in Indonesia for carrying out so faithfully the ministry of word and sacrament in communion with their bishops. I am aware of the sacrifice and constant travel required of them in order to bring that presence to the faithful.
But when it is difficult for the priest to bring his unique ministry to people, there is a temptation to resort to alternatives. While new forms of ecclesial service and lay involvement are to be welcomed, they cannot substitute for the ministry of priests. There is a complementarity of roles between clergy and laity that is essential for the Church’s life and mission. If on a regular basis the laity are entrusted with roles and responsibilities that belong to ordained ministers, then the Church’s life suffers and the local communities are deprived of the ministry to which they are entitled.
In this regard I wish to draw special attention to the Eucharist. I commend you for all the efforts that have been made to renew the Liturgy in accordance with the directives of the Second Vatican Council. At the same time I also ask you to make the celebration of the Eucharist a special priority. For many Indonesian Catholics the Mass is still a luxury reserved for only a few days of the year. Having just participated in the Eucharistic Congress in Seoul, I am strengthened in my resolve to invite all the priests of Indonesia to commit themselves to making the Eucharist the true centre of every community.
Participation in the Church’s life and mission is not limited, of course, to the Liturgy. There are many forms of Catholic association that should be welcomed and even strengthened, if they are deemed appropriate and useful in a given socio-cultural context. In this work too, priests and religious have a special role to play.
6. Dear brothers and sisters, these reflections concerning the pilgrim path of the Church in Indonesia should fill all of us with new hope. The wealth of charisms among the various religious families, the growth of the diocesan clergy, and the ever deeper faith of your people, are all signs of a new springtime of the Spirit which is blossoming in this land so richly blessed by God.
I urge you to use God’s gifts wisely. Much has been gained through the sacrifices and wise choices of those who have gone before you. Their decision to be models of service has greatly assisted the spread of the Gospel in Indonesia. May you be equally blessed with wisdom in order to continue the work of the Church in response to the further challenges of evangelization today. You can rely on the wealth of spiritual gifts that have been poured out on the Church. Above all, you can rely on “that power of God at work within us, which is able to do far more than all that we ask or think” (Cfr. Eph Ep 3,20).
May the Mother of God, so highly venerated among you, Saint Francis Xavier, a great evangelizer of this land, and Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, so dear to the heart of Indonesian Catholics, obtain for you the grace to persevere in the faith and to be courageous witnesses to the Gospel.
Akhirnya, saya dengan senang hati akan memberikan Berkat Apostolik kepada Anda sekalian.
Speeches 1989 - Blue House, Seoul