Indonesia opens nation’s first state Catholic college

The Jakarta Post, page 2

After a long, bureaucratic process, the Santo Agustinus Pastoral Institute (STP) in Kubu Raya, West Kalimantan, experienced a historic moment on Thursday as it began operations as a government-run educational institution now named the Pontianak State Catholic Institute (STAKatN).

As the first ever state Catholic institute in Indonesia, STAKatN Pontianak is expected to play a significant role in supporting the spirit of unity in the diverse nation.

Speaking during the inauguration of the institute, Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin said religious education was important in maintaining the spirit of unity in Indonesia despite its enormous diversity. Hence, he hoped the inauguration of the state Catholic university could be immediately followed by the development of similar institutions in other areas across Indonesia.

Lukman said that religion is all about feeling. Hence, religion is not something to be debated in the public sphere, but a set of values we should implement in our daily lives.

Former STP Santo Agustinus head Andreas Muhrotien said the institute, which opened in 2006, was previously a private institution, which initially aimed to provide a solution to the province’s shortage of Catholic religious education teachers. Andreas said they have undertaken a long journey to become a state institute.

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