Konradus Epa, Jakarta – Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta has called on Indonesians to commit to the country's secular ideology to build unity and respect differences as the world's most populous Muslim marked the anniversary of its inception on June 1.
The ideology known as Pancasila (Five Principles) was introduced by Indonesia's first president, Sukarno, on June. 1, 1945, to promote respect for diversity among ethnic, religious and societal groups.
To most Indonesians, it symbolizes national unity and stipulates belief in one God, a just and civilized society, a united Indonesia, democracy guided by consensus, and social justice for all citizens.
"We should support it by realizing and living it in all aspects of our life," Cardinal Suharyo said in a video message to mark the anniversary.
In the nation's history, the Indonesian Church has struggled diligently and faithfully to face various challenges but it remains committed to building a harmonious life by embracing differences, said the cardinal, who is also president of the Indonesian bishops' conference.
"Pancasila Day tells us of the call to be faithful in supporting and living up to the noble values of the national ideology," the prelate said.
Pancasila must become our guide when intolerance and radicalism threaten to divide us
He called on all Indonesians to uphold the values of faith, humanity, unity, cooperation, justice, solidarity, love and tolerance.
The cardinal's message comes amid concerns about growing intolerance in the country and terrorism threats, highlighted by the arrests late last month of suspected terrorists accused of plotting a bombing campaign against Christian churches in Indonesia's Papua region.
"Pancasila must become our guide when intolerance and radicalism threaten to divide us," Vincentius Hargo Mandirahardjo, chairman of the Association of Indonesian Catholic Intellectuals, told UCA News.
He called on the government to make Pancasila a subject in its own right on school curricula so that children embrace it from an early age.
It is currently taught alongside another subject called civic education, which concentrates on state affairs and which critics say undermines its use as a tool for shaping behavior.