The Diocesan Commission for the laity in the Diocese of Bandung contests a circular banning students to celebrate Valentine's Day.
West Java Education Agency head Ahmad Hadadi signed the measure, who
expressly prohibited the students of West Java province to celebrate
Valentine's Day at school or outside school.
As Fides learns, the letter is addressed to all heads of municipal offices and to all school authorities.
The ban is motivated by the administration's effort to "build good moral
character in students" and prevent them from "engaging in activities
that contravened religious, social and cultural norms".
In response to the order, Fr. Paulus Rusbani Setyawan, priest in charge
of the Commission for the Laity of the Diocese of Bandung, told Fides:
"The issue does not strictly regard matters such as formation and
education. The circular on the one hand could be seen as an attempt to
protect students but in reality it is "artificial and childish, if it
comes from an institution that deals with education".
The circular, adds
the priest, "does definitely not have an educational value for the
current generation of young people who are 'global' and who, thanks to
technology, are connected with the whole world".
The issuance of this circular, remarks Fr. Setyawan, "indicates that the
head of the West Java Education Agency does not know and does not
include the students' universe and simply carries out his way of
thinking. This is not coherent with the interests of students'
"Any regulation must be based on the spirit of love", he says. "As for
the celebration of Valentine's Day, one has to talk to students with
educational spirit and loving, and think that they are no longer
"The Education Agency should explain to students the reasons of this
ban", while it would be useful to "launch a debate to lead students to
choose the right form of celebration" said the head of the Commission
for the Laity.