Indonesian official formally invites Pope Francis for visit

“We would like to invite Your Holiness to witness ... diversity in Indonesia," said Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas

Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas met with Pope Francis in the Vatican on Wednesday, June 8, to extend the invitation of President Joko Widodo to come for a visit.

“I would like to extend the invitation from President Joko Widodo for Your Holiness to come to visit Indonesia,” said Minister Qoumas in a statement sent to media.

Antara news agency said Pope Francis earlier planned to visit Indonesia but canceled the trip due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qoumas said the Ministry of Religious Affairs had declared 2022 as the “Year of Tolerance,” a manifestation of the Indonesian government’s “commitment to maintaining tolerance both in religion and politics.”

“Indonesia is able to maintain tolerance and peace among religious adherents, including hundreds of local religious people,” said Qoumas.

“We would like to invite Your Holiness to witness this diversity in Indonesia,” read the official’s statement.

The minister also conveyed the greetings of the Indonesian Catholic community to Pope Francis in person.

“We pray and wish Your Holiness to always (be) in good health and (wish for your) prosperity,” read Qoumas statement.

“We believe in and value our solidarity, as Your Holiness believes in creating and maintaining peace in Indonesia,” said the minister.

Muslims make up more than 80 percent of the Indonesian population while it is estimated that there are 23.5 million Christians living in the Southeast Asian country.

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