maandag 23 december 2013

ASAKKIA A: Five Catholic members

As I wrote in previous contributions to this weblog, I came to Indonesia between 4-13 December 2013 to attend the launching of an association of Christians working as Scholar of Islam, Islamologist.
I was the only foreigners to attend this festive meeting and I considered it as my duty to give some more weight to this decision.

The landlord or most important host was Fredrik Doeka, here right on two pictures (above with rector of the Christian University Artha Wacana). But Father Bertho was also important and there was a very loyal atmosphere. Participants had to organize or pay themselves for the ticket and only lodging and food in Kupang came from the organising committee. So, it was really an effort by participants themselves to do this. In various fields of theology, church history, contextual theology, biblical studies we see an effort to start societies or associations gthat should improve the quality of research and education and also give more status to these fields of study.

Catholics and Protestants came here together without much pride about denominations, Still, I want to start with some Catholics. Above I already wrote about Greg Soetome (2d row, 2d from left) and Bertholomeus Bolong (2d row 4th from right). I consider myself also as a Catholic and with Heru and Damianus we reach then five Catholics.

Dr. J.B. Heru Prakosa was the most senior in age: he obtained his PhD at PISAI in Rome on the literary style of the Qur'an commentary by Fakhruddin ar-Razi, the great literator. For some time Heru also has studied in Egypt and in Britain. He is a Jesuit and in Yogyakarta there is now also another Jesuit, Albertus Laksana who wrote a PhD in Chicago with Clooney about pilgrimages, Christian and Muslim: the lack of specialists in this field among Christian institutes of theology is now more and more something of the past! Fredrik Doeka became chairman, Heru Vice-chair and Bertholomeus secretary of the association.

Damianus (Dammy) Pongoh (born 1967) is a diocesan  priest of Manado. He studied at PISAI in Rome, Arabic and Islam and has experience  of one year in Cairo. He teaches at the Major Seminary of Pineleng, but as a specialist in Islam he feels not really at his place in this quite Christian province of Indonesia. He would like to teach or be active in Java, where the majority of the Muslims of Indonesia are. But a diocesan priest cannot easily move to another place.

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