Indonesian Bishops Call National Day of Prayer for Iraq

JAKARTA, Indonesia, FEB. 9, 2003 ( Expressing closeness and concern over the threat of war, the bishops of Indonesia addressed a letter to their fellow bishops in Iraq, calling all Indonesian faithful to a national day of prayer for the Iraqi people.

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In the letter, the Indonesian bishops’ conference stated that war not only cannot be considered a solution, but “aggravates suffering and perpetuates hatred,” and contradicts “our belief on the sacredness of human life that God bestows upon us,” as the text reads.

The letter, addressed to the president of the Iraqi bishops’ conference and dated Jan. 31, is signed by Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja, Archbishop of Jakarta and president of the Indonesian episcopate, and by Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo of Semarang, its secretary general.

“We pray that world and national leaders be given the wisdom and the compassion not to seek recourse to war as a solution, but rather to let the prolonged suffering of the people be an impetus for searching a peaceful means to resolve conflict,” they said.

To manifest their union during this “crucial time,” the Indonesian bishops communicated their desire to hold a national day of prayer for the people of Iraq Feb. 16.

At this convocation, the 35 dioceses that make up the Indonesian bishops’ conference will pray “with the intention that the people of Iraq be granted the peace they deserve.”

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