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Maintain pressure for religious liberty, Pope asks Indonesian bishops

October 07, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI asked the Catholic bishops of Indonesia to do “everything possible to ensure that the rights of minorities in your country are respected,” concentrating especially on religious freedom.

Citing Indonesia’s official commitment to inter-religious harmony, the Pope told the bishops—who were in Rome for their ad limina visits—that they should be fully engaged in dialogue with other religions, while continuing to push for full recognition of the rights of religious minorities. He stressed that “freedom to live and preach the Gospel can never be taken for granted and must always be justly and patiently upheld.”

The Pope also encouraged the bishops to promote evangelization in Indonesia, which has the largest population of any Islamic nation. He remarked that “the missionary impulse remains essential to the Church's life.” That impulse, he added, should find expression in preaching the Gospel and in charitable work.

During his stay in Rome, the president of the Indonesian bishops’ conference expressed some misgivings about the influence exerted by the Vatican over the translation of liturgical texts. Bishop Martinus Dogma Situmorang of Padang told UCANews that the Vatican should allow national Church leaders “more space to be ourselves.”


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