06/09/2022, 14.21
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Jakarta's Religious Affairs Minister invites the Pope to the G20 of Religions

by Mathias Hariyadi

Yaqut Cholil Quomas met with the pontiff in Rome accompanied by the leader of the Nahdlatul Ulama. The inter-religious conference is one of the appointments Indonesia is working on as chair of the global forum that brings together the major economic powers. The minister: "I brought the pope the greetings of Indonesian Catholics who pray for his health and hope to welcome him to our country". 

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The Minister of Religious Affairs of Indonesia, Yaqut Cholil Quomas, met yesterday with Pope Francis at the end of the Wednesday general audience. He was accompanied by Kiai Hajj Yahya Staquf, the leader of the Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest moderate Muslim organisation. The minister reportedly handed the pontiff an official letter of invitation for a trip to Indonesia.

Back in September 2020, Pope Francis was supposed to make a stop in Indonesia during a trip to South-East Asia and Oceania, which was later cancelled due to the pandemic. Quomas explained during a meeting held at the Indonesian embassy to the Holy See, ''The invitation we extended to the Pope is to participate in the Religion-20 international interreligious conference. This is an event that Indonesia will organise as part of its G20 presidency, which will culminate in the summit of heads of state and government scheduled to take place in Bali on 30 and 31 October 2022.

Two popes have already visited Indonesia: the first was Paul VI, who stopped in Jakarta in December 1970; the second was John Paul II in 1989, who visited Yogyakarta and Flores in addition to the capital.

Minister Quomas - who had already met Pope Francis in 2019 - reported that he had spoken to the pontiff about the commitment to "maintain tolerance and peace between the six main religions and other local religions provided for in the Indonesian Constitution". He also added that he had brought the pope 'the greetings of the Indonesian Catholic community and the Indonesian bishops who are eager to meet him in person. They pray for his health,' he concluded, 'and hope to welcome His Holiness to Indonesia.

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