Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Priest Honored for Preserving Balinese Culture

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Priest Honored for Preserving Balinese Culture

Article excerpt


Denpasar, Indonesia

A media group in Bali has honored a long-serving Divine Word priest for producing a Balinese vocabulary and dictionary, and contributing to Balinese culture.

The Bali Post Media Group honored 10 people with the K. Nadha Nugraha Award. Fr. Nobert Anthony Shadeg was cited for his compilation of a Balinese dictionary.

Divine Word Fr. Paskalis Widastra, a Balinese and chairman of the diocese's Interfaith Commission, noted that Shadeg showed interest in Balinese culture since his arrival in Bali in 1950. "As a missionary, he has the responsibility to preserve the culture, because in spreading the Gospel a priest should understand the human dimension, including language and culture," said Widastra, who accepted the award on behalf of Shadeg, who because of illness was unable to attend the Jan. 5 ceremony in Denpasar, capital of the island province of Bali.

The recipients of the award, which is named for a pioneer of the Bali Post daily newspaper, were all Hindu Balinese except for the American missionary priest. Hindus form 93 percent of Bali's 3.1 million residents.

The award citation noted that Shadeg "realized that language is the most important tool in communicating with students, other teachers and the people around, all Balinese."

Widastra said the award has special meaning for Catholics because it shows that "it is not wrong for Catholics to participate in preserving local culture."

In recent years, Hindu Balinese have rejected Catholic use of Balinese architecture, cultural symbols and names. …

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