Indonesian Religious Leaders Visit Pope

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 27, 2004 ( Indonesian leaders of various religions are visiting Rome in order to confirm their commitment for peace in Southeast Asia and worldwide.

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A delegation of 24 representatives of Indonesia’s five largest religious communities — Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist and Hindu — were received by John Paul II last Wednesday, the Vatican’s Fides agency reported.

The participants had meetings with Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, as well as the Rome-based lay Community of Sant’Egidio.

«We encourage these efforts which show that religions can work together to build peace in the world,» Monsignor Felix Machado, undersecretary of the pontifical council, told Fides. «Today Indonesia is a key country in Southeast Asia and it needs this sort of witness.»

The Indonesian Office for Religious Affairs organized the visit with the Indonesian Embassy to the Holy See.

The delegates included Father Ignazio Ismartono, an official of the Indonesian Catholic bishops’ conference.

A delegation of Indonesian religious leaders led by Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja, archbishop of Jakarta, visited Rome in 2003, and lent support to the Pope’s opposition to the Iraq war.

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