Indonesian Catholics at a church service.   (AFP or licensors)

By Vatican News

Dec 7 2020

Indonesia’s Catholic bishops’ Commission for the Laity has issued a message asking Catholics to vote for candidates who uphold values such as tolerance, pluralism, human dignity and the common good.

Indonesia’s Catholic bishops are urging their faithful to vote for “good and just candidates” in regional elections next week, the Vatican’s Fides news agency said. “Today a Catholic citizen should exercise his political right paying attention to these three considerations: vote correctly, intelligently and wisely and to elect good and just candidates, according to conscience,” said a message by the Commission for the Laity of the Bishop’s Conference of Indonesia (KWI). 

Citizens will vote in 270 regions of Indonesia, covering nine provinces, 224 districts, and 37 cities on December 9, to elect governors, district heads, mayors and their deputies. The government has declared the day a national holiday.

“The first common goal is to ensure that everyone can vote with dignity, safety and health protection, respecting the health protocols required for Covid-19,” said the message signed by Archbishop Vincensius Sensi Potokota of Ende, the president of the Commission for the Laity, and Father Paul Christian Siswantoko, its executive secretary. They urge all voters to “maintain social distancing, always wear a mask, use a hand sanitizer.”

The voting had been initially scheduled for September 23 but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed to December 9, which happens to be also International Anti-Corruption Day.

The Commission’s message warned against corruption, sectarianism, hate speech and the elaborate dissemination of false news related to the election, and stressed that it goes against the nation’s noble values of democracy.

The bishops hope that candidates of integrity “who cultivate a spirit of pluralism” and who have “the courage to fight crime and intolerance” are elected. They underlined that the culture of respect for human dignity, “according to values of equity, prosperity and the common good” of society, should be promoted at every level in Indonesia. They urged all citizens to assess the programmes and policies of candidates in the light of these values.  (Source: Fides) – Vatican News