03/10/2022, 00.00
Send to a friend

Indonesia invites Pope Francis and grand imam al-Tayeb

by Mathias Hariyadi

The announcement came from Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Minister Quomas. Last week, Vatican sources confirmed a papal visit to Timor-Leste. For the Bishops’ Conference, “interreligious dialogue is fundamental”.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas plans to invite Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb to Indonesia.

He made the announcement during the national conference of the Interfaith Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia (KWI[*]), held in Bali from 6 to 9 March.

The Commission’s president, Archbishop Yohanes Harun Yuwono of Palembang, and its secretary, Father Agustinus Heri Wibowo, were present at the meeting.

Minister Quomas said he hoped that the Holy Father and al-Tayeb would acknowledge the good practices implemented by Indonesia to promote social coexistence despite the country’s many different ethnic groups.

Last week, Mgr Marco Sprizzi, the nunciature's chargé d'affaires in Dili, announced a papal visit to Timor-Leste (East Timor), although the dates of the visit were not disclosed.

All this suggests that the pontiff’s trip to Southeast Asia might include Indonesia, as well as East Timor and Papua New Guinea, which Francis was supposed to visit in 2020 but had to cancel because of the pandemic.

Minister Qoumas explained that he was pleasantly surprised when Pope Francis showed interest in learning more about Indonesia during their meeting at the Vatican in 2009.

The KWI’s Interfaith Commission welcomed the initiative. “Promoting interreligious dialogue is fundamental for us," said Fr Heri Wibowo. "For us Indonesian Catholics, the ‘middle way’ represents our nationhood and cultural identity.”

During the meeting Qoumas expressed his desire to promote "religious moderation” to “reduce tensions between the faithful of different religions.”

For Fr Wibowo, "If only all Indonesians were free to express their religious identity without external intervention (either by the state or radical groups), then I am convinced social coexistence would be wonderful. All Indonesians love the nation’s diversity.”

About 80 participants from the country’s 37 dioceses attended the four-day conference and workshop.

[*] Konferensi Waligereja Indonesia.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Substitute Peña Parra inaugurates apostolic nunciature in Dili
22/09/2022 16:40
Pope talks about the Middle East, the Holy Land and the food crisis with Bush
Carmo da Silva, a newly created cardinal gifted to all of Timor-Leste
31/05/2022 13:45
Catholic music to promote dialogue in Ambon, the city of sectarian violence
17/10/2018 13:29
The plight of Papua refugees, "second-class citizens" forgotten by the world


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”