» 10/16/2014, 00.00
Moluccas: in the footsteps of St. Francis Xavier, to revive Christian-Muslim dialogue
In the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio and hundreds of priests, the statue dedicated to the Spanish Jesuit was inaugurated. A hotbed of violence in the past, the area is essential to promote the message of coexistence. Muslim governor of the Moluccas: "Diversity is a blessing that should not be eliminated, but maintained and preserved".
Ambon (AsiaNews) - The Nuncio to Indonesia Msgr. Antonio Guido
Filipazzi, the diocesan bishop Msgr. Petrus Canisius Mandagi, hundreds of priests,
nuns, faithful and the governor of the Moluccas, a Muslim, have attended the
inauguration of a statue dedicated to St. Francis Xavier. The ceremony, which
took place earlier this month at Amboina, was an opportunity to strengthen Christian-Muslim dialogue and relations between
leaders of the two major religions, in an area that has long been a hotbed of sectarian
violence. The monument is located in the village of Great Hative, about 10 km
from the center of Ambon, to commemorate the evangelizing work of the Spanish
Jesuit; promoters included the leaders of the diocese, in collaboration with
the Association of Indonesian diocesan priests (UNIO Indonesia).
In its history and tradition, Amboina has provided a great
contribution to mission, with a growing number of male and female vocations. Many
of the candidates come from Tual, Tanimbar, Kei, small islands of the Moluccas whose
population is 99% Catholic, the result of the missionary work of St. Francis
Xavier who planted the seed of faith in the region. A significant fact considering
that in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, Catholics are a
small minority of about seven million people, about 3% of the population (3.6% in
Promoted by Bishop Mandagi, the inauguration of the statue
saw the joint signature at the foot of the saint by the governor of the
Moluccas and the apostolic nuncio, in front of hundreds of people from both
faiths. Among those present were the Mayor of Ambon Richard Louhenapessy and
other senior officials in the region.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ceremony, the governor of
the Moluccas Said Asagaff thanked the diocese and UNIO Indonesia for promoting the
event and having chosen Ambon as the place for the national conference. For the
official Muslim "this is a great opportunity to bring all stakeholders
together, including groups that deal with inter-religious dialogue, to
strengthen the morale of the people and instill a spirit of tolerance". He
added that "diversity is a blessing that should not be eliminated, but maintained
Addressing those present, the apostolic nuncio said he
was "extremely happy" for the presence of hundreds of priests and the
governor of the Moluccas, whose participation confirms the intention to "cooperate
with the Catholic Church in building up society". Satisfaction was also
expressed by the Bishop, Msgr. Mandagi, who repeatedly stressed "the
appreciation and support of the authorities of the government of Maluku and Ambon."
Between 1999 and 2001, a bloody war was fought between
Christians (Protestants) and Muslims in Ambon in the Moluccas. There were thousands
of victims; hundreds of churches and mosques destroyed; thousands of homes
razed to the ground; nearly half a million refugees. In February 2002, a truce was
signed between the two sides - Muslims and Christians are in equal number - signed
in Malino, South Sulawesi, through a government led peace plan. However, the
truce did not stop sporadic episodes of terror against innocent victims; among
the various episodes the
beheading of three girls on their way to school, at the hands of Islamic
extremists in October 2005 sparked international outrage and
condemnation. In recent years, the situation seems to have improved, with an
atmosphere of peaceful coexistence that goes hand in hand with the natural
beauty of these islands.
Threats against Christian churches: return of strategy of tension even in Sulawesi
Telephone messages warning of attacks against Catholic and Protestant churches, but they are hoaxes. Police are investigating but it is not clear whether it is political propaganda or conflict of a religious nature. Sulawesi Priest calls for "fellow citizens" not to get carried away "by feelings of hatred."
Maluku, Christian neighborhood attacked
Unidentified persons set fire to houses and cars. Dozens of families have fled their homes for fear of new attacks. The clashes began last May 14 during the celebrations of the Indonesian hero Thomas Matulessy. Police rule out the Islamists.
Bishop Mandagi makes veiled accusations against Wiranto concerning violence in Moluccas
Central Java, Muslim student lauds confessional harmony of Catholic campus
The testimony of Satya Tantra, a Muslim student at the Catholic University of Soegijapranata, attending Aseaccu event. A "wonderful opportunity" to an "inclusive" experience on a religious, human and social level. With him, a young Catholic, who sees possibility of a "society in which Muslims, Christians and Buddhists live happily together."
25/05/2004 INDONESIA - MOLUCCAS
Bomb rocks market in Ambon, 1 dead and 12 wounded
VATICAN - JAPAN
Pope to Japanese Bishops: Be the salt and light of society, even going against the trends
During the pastoral visit of Card. Fernando Filoni, Prefect of Propaganda Fide, to the Land of the Rising Sun, Pope Francis urges the bishops and the Japanese Church to renew their missionary commitment to society, marked by suicides, divorces, religious formalism, material and spiritual poverty. The request to collaborate with ecclesial movements, perhaps in memory of the controversy with the Neocatechumenal Way.
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