Vatican City (AsiaNews) In a telegram to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Pope Benedict XVI has asked for "an act of clemency" on "humanitarian grounds, and in light of the particularity of the case", that would spare the lives of three Catholics sentenced to death in Poso. The telegram, signed by the Vatican secretary of state, card Angelo Sodano, was made public today.
On previous occasions, the Pope had expressed his solidarity to the three condemned men. Through Mgr Joseph Suwatan, bishop of Manado (North Sulawesi), the Holy Father this past March 19 sent his blessing to the prisoners, urging them to say the rosary together so that they may face their ordeal in prayer.
Here is the full text of the telegram:
"[To] His Excellency
President of the Republic of Indonesia
I am writing to you in regard to the imminent executions of Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva and Marinus Riwu. In the name of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI I turn to you again, Your Excellency, to seek your intervention on humanitarian grounds, and in light of the particularity of the case, in order that an act of clemency might be granted to these three Catholic citizens of your nation. In adding my voice to others I would also note the position of the Catholic Church which on numerous occasions has spoken out against the death penalty. Trusting that this appeal made on behalf of His Holiness will meet with a positive outcome, I extend to you my sentiments of esteem.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano
Secretary of State