Card. Parolin in Indonesia: "Unique nation for tolerance and respect for diversity"
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican “has long considered Indonesia to be a good example and a model of peace, inter-religious coexistence and tolerance between groups of different faiths” said the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, during a meeting held on Tuesday in Jakarta with the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi.
The cardinal, is currently on a visit to Indonesia where he met with the Secretariat of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) on Monday, and will be travelling to East Timor on August 15 to preside over the celebration of the 500 years since the beginning of evangelization in the country.
The talks – which lasted half an hour – covered four areas: interfaith coexistence, cultural cooperation, joint media initiatives and education. The Secretary of State appreciated “the very significant phenomenon that people show respect, tolerance and acceptance of diversity, making Indonesia a truly unique nation”.
In a country where there are tensions between Muslims and Christians, the most important thing according Parolin “is to find ways to respect and accept differences; making every effort not to be violent and aggressive”.
In a joint statement released after the meeting, the two parties stated that “all differences must be addressed in the best possible way and all groups demonstrate willingness to collaborate to create a world that is open to any person”.
The Vatican was the first country to recognize the independence of Indonesia on August 17, 1945. The Cardinal’s visit to Jakarta is the first ever officiated by a secretary of state since 1950, the beginning of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and world’s most populous Islamic country. Good relations have been sealed by a series of papal visits, the last of which, John Paul II, was in 1989.
The Indonesian Foreign Minister said that Jakarta and the Vatican are engaged in exploring possible cooperation in the field of education. A partnership between the Pontifical Urban University and the Islamic University of Jakarta is being examined.
As part of a joint media initiative, another joint project will involve the Vatican Radio and Indonesia’s national public radio, Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) in the live coverage of the religious celebrations like Easter and Christmas that will be held in the Vatican to be broadcast especially on the island of Flores, which has a large Catholic population.