Church leaders condemn desecration of funeral cross

Albertus Slamet Sugihardi’s burial cross with the upper part removed (ucanews.com)

Indonesian Church leaders have strongly condemned a requirement that resulted in the removal of the upper part of a burial cross before a Catholic man could be buried in a public cemetery in Yogyakarta. Source: ucanews.com.

The stipulation was a result of protests against the cross from Muslims.

Semarang Archdiocese condemned the incident in statement on Wednesday, calling it “a violation of the constitution that contradicts the state’s ideology of Pancasila” which respects diversity.

The case has gone viral on social media and sparked outrage among Catholics and rights activists.

The row centred around the burial of Albertus Slamet Sugihardi, a parishioner of St Paul Church in Pringgolayan, Yogyakarta.

According to Semarang Archdiocese’ Commission for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation, the upper part of Mr Sugihardi’s burial cross was cut off before he was allowed to be buried on Monday because Muslim groups claimed the cemetery was a special one for Muslims.

Muslim groups claimed the cross cutting was carried out with the approval of Mr Sugihardi’s family.

However, the commission said Mr Sugihardi’s wife was forced to sign an approval letter drafted by local officials after the event took place in a bid to calm the storm that broke after the incident was reported on social media.

Agustinus Sunarto, a local activist, also accused local residents of preventing a wake being held at Mr Sugihardi’s home. Instead, prayers had to be said in the parish church.

Fr Paulus Christian Siswantoko, executive secretary of the Bishops’ Commission for the Laity, called the affair another example of “growing and deepening religious intolerance” in Indonesia.

“The government needs to address the issue immediately, before it spirals out of control,” he told ucanews.com

“All people must respect other religious symbols, such as the cross,” he added.

FULL STORY

Indonesian Church slams funeral cross desecration (ucanews.com

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