Rome, Italy, Sep 2, 2004 / 22:00 pm
The Church in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, is receiving enough vocations to the priesthood that in a short time all the Indonesian faithful – 3.5% of Indonesia’s 210 million inhabitants – will be catered for by local clergy.
“The local Church here is self confident and Indonesians are to take over soon from foreign priests,” said Fr Paul Klein, SVD, rector of the SVD (Society of the Divine Word) major seminary in Malang, Java, to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). The seminary has 50 students studying for the priesthood at the present time.
Fr. Klein, speaking briefly on the situation of the Church in a Muslim country said that “dialogue with the Muslims is slowly starting, but there is still a long way to go on the road of tolerance and mutual respect.”
However, he also pointed out that the Indonesian government grants financial aid to publish Bibles and said that “Catholic schools here are very popular, even among Muslims, because of their high educational standards.”