Speeches 1989 - Cathedral of the Assumption, Jakarta





Major Seminary of the Society of the Divine Word, Ledadero

Wednesday, 11 October 1989

Archbishop Djagom,

Brother Bishops,
Priests, Religious and Laity,
Dear Seminarians,

1. "Rahamat dan damai dari Allah Bapa dan Tuhan Jesus Kristus beserta anda" (Rm 1,7).

The number of candidates for the priesthood present here this evening is an eloquent tribute to the Catholics of Indonesia, especially those from the islands of Flores and Timor, who for centuries have professed their fait with perseverance and great fervour. I join you in thanking God for this flowering of priestly vocations, which is rooted in the Christian living of your communities, parishes and mission stations. My thoughts also turn to the parents of these seminarians: I extend to them my special greetings and the deep gratitude of the whole Church for the gift of their sons to the Lord’s service.

This gathering is a special moment of grace for us all. For me it is a great consolation to be among so many young men who hear the call to be the priests of the future, the priests of the Third Christian Millennium.It is also an occasion for me to speak from my heart about this wonderful gift of a vocation to serve Christ and his Church as a priest.

2. My dear seminarians of Indonesia: what can the Pope offer you? Certainly not “silver and gold” (Act. 3, 6) or worldly things that “moth and rust consume” (Mt 6,19). In the words of Saint Paul, I have nothing to offer you but “Christ crucified... Christ the power and the wisdom of God” (1Co 1,23-24). The priestly ministry to which you aspire cannot be separated from the Cross by which Christ has redeemed the world. But as Paul also says: “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ibid. 15, 57). “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (Ibid.15, 20).

Yes, as priests you will experience in a very intense way the paradox of the Paschal Mystery: you will be identified with the Lord who conquered death by dying; you will have to preach by word and example that the way to find one’s life is to lose it. You must also understand that faithful service to Christ and his Church will not always earn you the world’s praise. On the contrary, you will sometimes receive the same treatment as the Lord: rejection, contempt, and even persecution.

There will be times when you feel unequal to the mission entrusted to you by the Church. But then you must realize that your priesthood is God’s work; you are only responding to his call. When you seek to serve the Lord with all your heart and mind and strength, but feel inadequate to the task, remember that God’s power is made perfect in human weakness (Cfr. 2Cor 2Co 12,9). Great joy and consolation will not be lacking to a priestly vocation that is lived with fidelity and generosity in the Lord’s service.

3. As priests you will minister to many needy people: the poor, the sick, those without hope. You are called to act as a bridge along their path to God; you must guide and support them on their earthly pilgrimage. They will want to see in you a living image of the One and Only High Priest who “appears in the presence of God on our behalf” (Hebr. 9, 24), a living image of the Good Shepherd “who lays down his life for the sheep” (Jn 10,11).

In order for this to happen, you must enter into deep personal union with Christ through prayer. This is the most important spiritual advice the Pope wishes to leave with you today: You must pray, for prayer is the indispensable path to union with Christ; it is the priest’s hidden source of strength. As you prepare for the priesthood, offer Christ your mind and heart in anticipation of the day when you will raise your hands to God in the Eucharistic Prayer. Seek to be ever more perfectly conformed to Christ, for only in this way can you hope to bring his love and truth to others. If you persevere in prayer, you will be capable of great things. Divine grace will not be lacking if you seek the Lord with faith and trust.

In order to be effective ministers of God’s people you must also know and live the Gospel which you preach. The faithful expect you to be men of God’s Word, and men of the Church in your way of thinking and acting. Lifelong formation is therefore essential. Remember always that “what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as... servants for Jesus’ sake” (1Co 4,5).

4. In welcoming me here this evening, Archbishop Djagom spoke of the Church’s development in Nusa Tenggara. He also referred to pastoral guidelines that have been developed in response to some of today’s challenges. I wish to mention two areas of concern that will have an impact on your future ministry as priests.

The first is the temptation in contemporary thought to reduce priestly service to a vague humanitarianism, and to consider the essential features of the faith as only inspiring principles, without direct relevance to daily life. This can happen when people are forgetful of God and of man’s transcendent origin and destiny.

You who are to be priests must be impelled by the same faith that inspired the great saints before you. You must proclaim that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt 4,4). Man without God is truly alone and isolated; nor can there be any true and lasting love of neighbour without faith in God. You are called to be sacred ministers precisely so that people may be fed at the table of God’s Word and the table of the Holy Eucharist. Do not let your ministry be secularized. Always be ready to proclaim the primacy of God, so that the prayer which Christ himself taught us may be fulfilled: “Father... thy kingdom come” (Lc 11,2).

A different but related concern is the need to preserve the complementarity of roles among priests, religious and laity. It is important for this complementarity to be respected, so that each individual can play his or her part in fulfilling the Church’s salvific mission and in building up the one Body of Christ. As priests you must not give in to the temptation to usurp the laity’s role in the temporal order.

As the Second Vatican Council teaches, “it pertains to the laity in a special way to so illuminate and order all temporal things with which they are so closely associated that these may be effected and grow according to Christ” (Lumen Gentium LG 31). The priest, on the other hand, is “set apart for the Gospel of God” (Rm 1,1). He cannot allow secular involvement to compromise his position as a father to all who stands above differing points of view in temporal affairs. His duty is “to preach the message of Christ in such a way that the light of the Gospel will shine on all the activities of the faithful” (Gaudium et Spes GS 43).

5. Dear seminarians of Indonesia: the Second Letter to Timothy speaks of the ministry in terms of the endurance of a soldier, the discipline of an athlete, and the hard work to a farmer (Cfr. 2Tim 2Tm 2,3-6). Endurance, discipline and hard work: these are virtues you must cultivate during your years of preparation for the priesthood. You have already learned much from your families and local communities. Now you are called to grow even more with the good example and guidance of your seminary teachers. “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col 3,14). In this way you will become worthy shepherds and teachers of God’s people, courageous apostles and prophets of the Gospel.

May the Mother of God, who is invoked in your islands under the title “Maris Stella”, guide you to the priesthood. May she intercede for all who are present here and lead the whole Church in Indonesia to an ever greater love for her Son. To him be glory for ever. Amen.

"Akhirnya, putera-puteraku yang terkasih, saya dengan senang hati akan memberikan Berkat Apostolik kepada Anda sekalian".






Atma Jaya Catholic University, Jakarta

Thursday, 12 October 1989

Distinguished Professors,
Dear Students,
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Dear Friends,

1. I am particularly pleased to have this opportunity to meet you all, the men and women of the university community, and those involved in the world of the arts and sciences in Indonesia. I greet you most cordially, and assure you of my esteem for your important work. Wherever I go in the fulfilment of my apostolic ministry, a meeting with members of the academic community is an occasion of great joy for me. It reminds me of my own happy and long-standing relationship with the university world in my native Poland, as a student and as a professor.

My warm greeting goes to the many young people here, representing the students of Indonesia. You are indeed an important part of Indonesia’s future! This is for you a reason for rejoicing, but also the measure of your responsibility. I am grateful for the presence of so many distinguished teachers and scholars who so generously devote themselves to the noble task of educating these young men and women for the roles of leadership which they will soon be called upon to assume.

Our meeting today takes place on the campus of the Catholic University of Atma Jaya. Although founded less than thirty years ago, this university, together with nine other Catholic universities in Indonesia, is heir to a centuries-old university tradition within the Catholic Church.

2. It was the desire to serve society that inspired the Church’s many efforts to establish schools and universities in Indonesia. From the first years of her presence here, the Church chose to be an educator, seeking to help people to know the truth and to serve others in obedience to its demands. Today, throughout Indonesia, the Church continues to serve society through a network of educational institutions which provide instruction for over a million young people. These institutions have been maintained by the Catholic community at no small sacrifice, in a spirit of opennes to all Indonesians, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. The existence today of ten internationally recognized Catholic universities and a number of other institutes of higher education is a source of immense pride for the Catholic community and a concrete proof of the Church’s commitment to the progress of society.

In this context a special word of gratitude and encouragement is due to the many men and women religious who for generations have so generously contributed their talents and energy to establishing and developing centres of education at every level in your country. Nor can the support and initiative of Indonesia’s laity go unmentioned. As is well known, this very university at Atma Jaya is the fruit of the living faith of a generation of Indonesian Catholic lay intellectuals. The Church rejoices in the generosity with which her members have worked for the education and training of Indonesia’s youth, and appreciates the support they have received in this enterprise from the Indonesian government and from their fellow Catholics overseas.

3. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen: allow me to reflect briefly with you on the role of the university in society, and the distinctive contribution that a Catholic university can make, both to the individuals who are in one way or another attached to it. as well as to the society in which it exists.

Universities form, in fact, an important part of that great network of persons, institutions and traditions from which ideas arise, are tested, and are proposed to the wider community. Academic research, debate and teaching have a profound influence upon men and women far beyond the university campus. This enormous yet often hidden influence of the universities makes them a powerful force within society.

In a very real way, it may be said that the university stands at the crossroads of life and reflection; it is a meeting-point and a forum for enriching debate among those dedicated to the search for knowledge of all kinds as indeed among those whose task it is to apply knowledge to life. The vocation of teachers and students to search for knowledge finds noble expression in their daily work, in their patient and painstaking research and in the exposition of ideas. The treasury of human knowledge is constantly expanding as scholars investigate reality with methods proper to their science. Precisely for this reason, there is an increasing call from members of the academic world for a university education that permits the student to achieve an ordered vision of reality. The true challenge confronting university education today has to do with the very meaning of scientific and technological research, of society and culture. As I stated in a recent Address to an International Meeting on Higher Education: “what is at stake is the very meaning of man” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Allocutio ad eos qui III conventui Catholicarum Universitatum ab omnibus nationibus interfuerunt coram admissos, 3 die 25 apr. 1989: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, XII, 1 [1989] 936).

In recent times, education has been faced with problems arising from the “splintering” of human knowledge into ever more numerous specializations. In this context, it is most appropriate that universities pursue the ideal of an integral education of the human person. To abandon this task would be to leave aside the deeper meaning of education itself, which should be understood not merely as training in certain skills, but also as a process which leads to the authentic human development of the individual in this life, to the creation of a just and peaceful social order, and ultimately to eternal happiness with God. Only by constantly striving for a higher synthesis of knowledge can one hope to satisfy the thirst for true wisdom which is so deeply inscribed in the human heart.

4. It is within this context that the Catholic university has its proper role. The Catholic university is of course called upon to engage in high quality research and teaching. But precisely because it is “Catholic”, the recognition it gives to man’s religious dimension in the search for truth is irrevocably joined to a concrete profession of faith. The task of learning and teaching is guided by the light of the Church’s faith.

What does it mean to say that a Catholic university should be guided by faith in Christ? It means that the university as an institution is committed to the belief that Jesus Christ has revealed the truth about God and that in doing so he has definitively revealed the fundamental dignity of each and every human person (Cfr. Gaudium et Spes GS 22), regardless of how good or intelligent or useful others may consider that person to be.

The Catholic university’s commitment to higher education, then, is in fact a commitment to man himself and to the development of all that is truly human. It is for this reason that the Church has always supported the growth and development of institutions of higher learning. She wishes the dignity of the person to be affirmed, human rights and freedoms to be defended and promoted, justice and a social order marked by fellowship and mutual respect to be everywhere fostered. She wishes, in a word, to serve the people of society by proclaiming the sublime dignity of the human person, a truth that she herself has learned at the school of the Gospel.

5. As an institution, the Catholic university has a specific vocation within the Church. Here I would address in a particular way the Catholics within the university community. Dear brothers and sisters: you are called to build bridges between the world of knowledge and the world of faith. Through your witness of faith, you help the Church to fulfil her prophetic function in society, which is to purify and elevate all human activity through the light and power of the Gospel. The Church in no way rejects whatever is authentically human and true in given cultures, for she knows that contact with the Gospel will bring them to a more complete and fruitful realization (Cfr. Gaudium et Spes GS 58).

Your studies, your dialogue with colleagues, and the many ways in which you serve your fellow citizens will all help to bring the Church’s presence and teaching to bear upon the challenges and questions facing your society. The history of Indonesia, particularly during her struggle for national independence, provides numerous examples of Christians whose witness to the Gospel has made no small contribution to the establishment of this Republic. Today it is your turn to bear the burdens of society and play an active part in the nation’s development and growth.

6. The great work of promoting human dignity and serving society is one in which all members of the university, of whatever religious tradition, are called to share. Each of you, through your scholarly work, is in fact helping to build the society of the future, one that not only promises a better Indonesia for your children and your grandchildren, but also a better world for all peoples. Your culture has been deeply influenced by the wisdom of the ancient civilizations of the East, and it respects the fundamental role which religion plays in human existence. For this reason, one can hope that Indonesia will continue to avoid the tragic error of separating science and faith, a separation which has had disastrous consequences in some other parts of the world. In the vain hope of constructing a purely secular culture, certain societies have sacrificed higher values and the religious experience of peoples in favour of a material “progress” that has proven sterile and incapable of satisfying the deeper demands of the human spirit.

As educators and students of Indonesia, you are laying the foundations not only of your own future but of the future of the entire society in which you live. It is important never to lose your enthusiasm and vision! Education is a gift, not for yourselves alone, but to be shared in turn with others. It is a gift which enables you also to help those who are less fortunate than yourselves.

7. Dear friends: on the occasion of my visit to Atma Jaya, allow me to make this appeal to all of you. Do not make education an instrument of selfishness, but realize its potential for good, for the defence of the weak and the benefit of the poor. Dedicate yourselves generously to the service of others, help carry their burdens, and share with them the vision and the confidence which your education has given you!

Millions of human beings, in countries all over the world, are unable to meet the minimal requirements for a dignified existence. Yet, mankind today possesses the scientific and technical means to eliminate much of this poverty. This situation challenges universities, and Catholic universities in particular, to mobilize their scientific and academic resources in order to find ways to meet such grave human needs.

I am happy to know that the University Hospital of Atma Jaya, as well as other hospitals, provide lowcost medical treatment to the people of the surrounding neighbourhoods. There are countless areas of human need crying out for effective solidarity. How much good can be done by providing legal assistance, by conducting courses in home economics, by rendering technical aid in improving the quality of the environment! How many forms of social service can a university community initiate and inspire! What is needed is an academic culture that unites high standards of learning with a profound and pervading ethic of real service to the poor, of real service to the development of the whole human being and of all people (Cfr. Ioannis Pauli PP. II Sollicitudo Rei Socialis SRS 30). This is a goal towards which I urge you to strive with every effort and all your talents.

May the Most High God, the Source of all Good, guide and sustain you in the search for knowledge and the service of the truth! God bless Atma Jaya! God bless Indonesia!






Apostolic Nunciature, Jakarta

Friday, 13 October 1989

Dear Brother Bishops,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

As my pastoral visit draws to a close, I am indeed happy to have this opportunity of expressing my deep gratitude to all of you here present, who have cooperated so generously and effectively in making this visit such a wonderful success. I offer these few words in the hope that through you I may reach the thousands of people who have made it possible for me to fulfil my mission to confirm in faith my Catholic brothers and sisters of Indonesia.

My heartfelt gratitude goes in a particular way to my brother bishops who extended the initial invitation and who have been so persevering in their desire that I visit Indonesia. There are, of course, many others not represented at this meeting whom I cannot fail to mention with special thanks, and I am sure that in doing so I echo the sentiments of my brother bishops.

I am thinking in the first place of His Excellency, President Suharto, for the invitation which he officially extended to me and for the extremely generous hospitality offered to me and those accompanying me on this visit. The exquisite courtesy shown to all of us is yet another reminder that the reputation enjoyed by Indonesians for being an extraordinarily hospitable people is indeed well deserved. A word of sincere appreciation must also go to the Ministers of the Government and State officials who met and accompanied me, to the security forces and to all who helped in many ways to assure the orderly and smooth running of the visit. Without the assistance of the Indonesian Air Force it would not have been possible to carry out my desire to travel to far distant parts of the archipelago. And let us not forget the media – television, radio, and the press – who have brought the events of these days to millions of Indonesians who could not, of course, be present in person.

To all of you I express the fervent hope that your many efforts will bring abundant fruits in the life of the Church in this country. I join you in praying for this intention as I assure you of my continual prayers for the peace and prosperity of your beloved Indonesia and for the wellbeing of all her people.

Thank you very much and God bless you all.






Apostolic Nunciature, Jakarta

Friday, 13 October 1989

Dear Brother Bishops,

1. As my pastoral visit comes to an end, I cannot fail to thank you, the pastors of the Church in Indonesia, for your dedicated service to the Catholic community in this vast archipelago. Truly, the Lord has done “great things” (Cfr. Luc Lc 1,49) here, thanks to the ministry of shepherds like yourselves who have preached the Gospel “not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God” (1Th 2,13).

I have come to you as a brother bearing the greetings and fraternal love of the Church in Rome. I have also come as the Successor of Peter, of whom God requires a special solicitude as pastor of the Church universal. Before I depart I wish to live this moment of collegial communion with you, reflecting on the bishop’s calling to be a living sign of the Incarnate Word, and on his personal responsibility for the transmission of the Gospel for the sanctification of God’s people to the glory and praise of the Most Holy Trinity.

2. During these last few days I have met many thousands of Indonesian Catholics. At the same time I recognize that they are a minority in relation to the population at large. But as Saint Paul tells us, in order to fulfil his salvific plan God chooses what is small, vulnerable and seemingly unimportant in the eyes of the world, “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1Co 1,29). For it is by God’s free and sovereign gift that fallen humanity is restored to divine life through the Death and Resurrection of his Son.

In the service of this plan, the Church’s mission here and throughout the world is to be “a sign and instrument of communion with God and of the unity of the whole humane race” (Lumen Gentium LG 1): “a standard lifted on high for the nations to see” (Unitatis Redintegratio UR 2); “a leaven and, as it were, the soul of human society in its renewal by Christ and transformation into the family of God” (Gaudium et Spes GS 40).

These and other New Testament images speak to us of a Church whose fruitfulness, at times hidden, is out of proportion to her number and human resources. It is a Church whose survival and growth depend not on the will of man but of God, whose mission it is to be bold in preaching the Good News of salvation “in season and out of season” (2Tm 4,2).

3. Dear brothers: as bishops you are “ heralds ” of the Good News of eternal salvation in Christ (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 25). Your ministry as shepherds and teachers is directed both to the members of Christ’s flock, who look to you for leadership, inspiration and encouragement, and to society at large. You will want to ensure that the Church fulfils her mission not only through the preaching of the Gospel, but also through the Christian witness of all the faithful, so that, as in the case of Nathanael, even the sceptical may be able to “come and see” (Jn 1,46).

Do not be afraid to encourage the Catholic people to an ever more public witness to the truths and values of their faith, in keeping with their rightful place in the society of which they are worthy citizens. Notwithstanding occasional difficulties, your national Constitution guarantees the full right of Catholics and others to freedom of religion and the practice of their faith.

To “practise the faith” means more than private religious obligation and devotion. One of the great themes of the Second Vatican Council was the call to recognize that the Gospel touches every aspect of life – cultural, economic, social and political. In the words of “Gaudium et Spes”: “Faith throws a new light on all things and makes known the full ideal which God has set for man, thus guiding the mind towards solutions that are fully human” (Gaudium et Spes GS 11). This does not mean that the Church has concrete solutions to offer for every problem concerning the life of society, but rather she proposes a social teaching that presents principles for reflection, criteria for judgement as well as directives for action (Cfr. Congr. pro Doctrina Fidei, Libertatis Conscientia 72 ss.).

4. This search for “what is fully human” under God constitutes a point of convergence for Indonesians of all religions. The Church enters into dialogue and is willing to cooperate with all in mutual respect and good will. But she also stands firm in her identity and mission, which are Catholic before all else. Religious diversity within the unity of Indonesia ought not to be feared, least of all by Indonesian Catholics, who as loyal citizens effectively participate in national life as guaranteed by Pancasila.

Similarly, a proper application of the principle of religious freedom also benefits the State and society as a whole, in so far as religion educates citizens to recognize the demands of the moral order and consequently to “govern their activities with a sense of responsibility, and strive after what is true and right, willing always to join with others in cooperative effort” (Dignitatis Humanae DH 8). Already in many fields of the apostolate and social service there is ample collaboration between the Church and civil institutions, most conspicuously in education and health care. It is to be hoped that such harmony can continue and grow, since it is a vital form of respect for human dignity and fundamental human rights.

A related concern however is the temptation in the world today to reduce the Gospel message to a form of humanitarianism. The Church, however, must always recognize that her essential mission to evangelize has as its “foundation, centre... and summit a clear proclamation that in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, who died and rose from the dead, salvation is offered to all as a gift of God’s grace and mercy” (Pauli VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi EN 27). This by no means diminishes, but rather heightens the obligation to seek “fully human solutions” and to promote authentic development, but always keeping a proper perspective on the relationship between the “city of God” and the “earthly city”. The Church’s mission is not restricted to the framework of temporal existence nor completely identified with temporal desires, hopes, affairs and struggles. Rather it is at the service of a transcendent and eschatological salvation, which has its beginning in this life but which is fulfilled in eternity (Cfr. ibid.).

5. Dear brothers, to you is given by episcopal ordination the great task of continuing the apostolic mission “to preach the Gospel and gather every race and people into a single flock to be guided and governed in the way of holiness” (Pontificale Romanum, “De ordinatione Episcopi”, Homilia). As successors of the apostles you have the twofold task of preserving the Gospel for future generations in all its fullness and integrity, while also ensuring that it is applied in a dynamic way to the present realities of your local Churches.

The challenge then is to guarantee the presence and vitality of Catholic faith in every aspect of the life of individuals and communities, and within the religious diversity of society itself. This means fostering among the faithful without hesitation or fear an explicitly Christian understanding of life and work. It is a question of finding ever new and effective ways for the Gospel to be lived in an authentically Indonesian manner within the “one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”.

6. If the Church by her teaching seeks to promote “ solutions that are fully human ” to the problems and challenges that beset the human family at any given moment in history, it is for the laity, in particular, to “carry out their earthly activity in such a way as to integrate human, domestic, professional, scientific and technical enterprises with religious values... (and) to be witnesses to Christ in all circumstances and at the very heart of the human community” (Gaudium et Spes GS 43).

It falls to the Church’s pastors to inspire and educate the laity as to what the Church offers to society and public life. Truth and justice as measures of freedom, love of neighbour and the dignity of the person created in God’s image, the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity: these are fundamental to the Catholic contribution to public life and institutions (Cfr. Congr. pro Doctrina Fidei, Libertatis Conscientia, 26 et 73). After the example of Christ, Christians must be prepared to bear prophetic witness wherever the dignity and rights of persons are threatened or when justice or charity demand it.

You are sometimes painfully aware that certain traditional practices and other contemporary social influences bring about an obscuring of fundamental principles regarding family life and the responsible transmission of life. As pastors you know that the very nature of your own personal response to this challenge greatly determines each local Church’s vitality in helping Christian couples to fulfil God’s plan for their lives. A comprehensive catechetical effort is needed everywhere in the Church to recover an awareness of the primacy of moral values. In “Familiaris Consortio” I wrote that the “education of the moral conscience, which makes every human being capable of judging and of discerning the proper ways to achieve self-realization according to his or her original truth,... becomes a pressing requirement that cannot be renounced” (Familiaris Consortio FC 8).

In order for the laity to fulfil their mission in the world, their pastors must help them to cultivate a properly formed Christian conscience, capable of guiding them in all of life’s decisions and activities. For in teaching the path to salvation, the Church necessarily refers to the moral order that governs the way people act and relate to one another, with repercussions on every sphere of life. The formation of a Christian conscience, together with the strengthening of moral character and the deepening of spiritual life, is essential for the transformation of the world from within. It is the only sure guarantee of the fruitfulness of inculturation.

7. In speaking to you, I wish to give thanks to God for the life and ministry of your priests, diocesan and religious, native and foreign born, who share with you the daily toil of caring for the Church in Indonesia. As those who preside in love over the presbyterium, you know how important it is to encourage, sustain and truly love your priests. Following the example of Christ the High Priest, who is able “to sympathize with our weakness, (as) one who was tempted m every way that we are, yet never sinned” (Hebr. 4, 15), you will at the same time gently but firmly call them to holiness, to self-abandonment into God’s hands, to a life that is humble and close to the poor and most needy. In many ways the priestly vocation is a call to a life marked by the sign of the Cross; indeed it often becomes “a sign of contradiction” (Lc 2,34). Your closeness to your priests, your openness to them in justice and love, and your prayers for their perseverance will do much to sustain them.

How can we not rejoice together at the increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life which your particular Churches are experiencing? Here is most certainly a sign of God’s loving providence. In fact, among the many vivid memories that I will take back with me to Rome, one of the most consoling is the sight of the many happy and dedicated priests and men and women religious I have met during my visit here.

At the same time, this gift of the Lord challenges you as bishops to provide those who answer the Lord’s call with a spiritual and doctrinal formation that will prepare them for a life of dedication to the service of the Church. As you are well aware, priests and religious need formation, not only during their years of preparation in seminaries and religious houses, but throughout their lives. They need to be afforded opportunities of deepening their understanding of the Gospel message as it is believed and taught by the Church. I know that you share this concern for their formation, conscious as you are that they in turn are called upon to form others.

8. Dear brothers: in the farewell discourse to the disciples which we find in the Gospel of John, Jesus prays: “(Father), sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth” (Jn 17,17-19).

These words apply fully to the pastors of the Church. As my visit draws to an end, I express my fervent hope and prayer that the Church, whose existence in Indonesia is one of the “great things” wrought by the power of God, will enjoy the leadership of bishops who are true disciples and apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. May you persevere in the truth and grow in “the holiness of truth” (Ep 4,24). For it is the truth that makes us free (Cfr. Io Jn 8,32), and the truth is Jesus Christ (Cfr. ibid.14, 6). To him be glory for ever. Amen.

Speeches 1989 - Cathedral of the Assumption, Jakarta