Indonesia: Advancing democracy and social harmony

Indonesia: Advancing democracy and social harmony

.- Upon receiving the new ambassador of Indonesia to the Holy See, Suprapto Martosemoto, the Holy Father praised Indonesia for its “commitment to pursue policies aimed at advancing the noble goals of democracy and social harmony enshrined in the Constitution."

Addressing the diplomat in English, the Pope began his talk by praising Indonesia for its “determination, which calls for sacrifice ... and the cooperation of all political and social groups, is indispensable for overcoming the forces of polarization and conflict, carrying forward the renewal of economic life and consolidating a just democratic order in full respect for the rights of every individual and community.”

Noting that one of the current “most serious threats to the ideal of national unity” in the country is “the phenomenon of international terrorism”, the Pontiff praised the Indonesian government’s position which condemns “terrorist violence, under whatever pretext it occurs,” pointing out that “this happens in particular when the holy name of God is invoked as a justification for such acts.”

The Holy Father continued, “The Church, ... in fidelity to the teaching of her Master, unequivocally condemns the manipulation of religion for political ends, while urging the application of international humanitarian law in every aspect of the fight against terrorism.”

He proceeded: “Indonesia, as a multi-religious country with the largest Muslim population of any nation in the world, plays an important and positive role in promoting inter-religious cooperation, both within its borders and in the international community. Dialogue, respect for the convictions of others, and collaboration in the service of peace are the surest means of securing social concord."

The Holy Father also emphasized the situation of Catholics Indonesians who, though a small minority, “desire to participate fully in the life of the nation” and “through their network of educational and health care institutions, they seek to offer a significant service to their brothers and sisters, regardless of religion, and to instill the ethical values fundamental for authentic civic progress and peaceful coexistence.”

"While their right to the free exercise of their religion in complete equality with their fellow citizens is guaranteed by the national Constitution," he added, "the protection of this fundamental human right calls for constant vigilance on the part of all.”

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