03/15/2022 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs indicates his hope for Pope Francis to visit the predominantly Muslim country to see “the beauty of diversity” in the lives of religious people.
During a national meeting of the Indonesian Bishops’ Commission on Interreligious Relations and Beliefs in Bali on March 7, Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said his ministry was working to make the Pope’s visit possible.
“I want to bring Pope Francis to see, first-hand, the beauty of diversity in Indonesia as well as to greet Indonesian Catholics directly,” he said.
“Hopefully, under normal conditions [post-pandemic], he can be present in Indonesia,” said Qoumas, a member of Nahdatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest moderate Muslim organization with around 80 million members and known for its support for pluralism. Quomas previously met Pope Francis in 2019 at the Vatican, where he and other Nahdatul Ulama representatives expressed support for the Document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi in 2018.
Given the prolonged fight against COVID-19, sources in the Vatican said in 2020 that Pope Francis was no longer visiting Indonesia in September of that year. Although the Holy See never confirmed the pope’s visit to Indonesia, Timor-Leste, and Papua New Guinea in September 2020, diplomatic sources had said the visit was scheduled.
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