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Friday, October 7, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 7 OCT 2011 (VIS) - "Christ's message of salvation, forgiveness and love has been preached in your country for centuries. Indeed, the missionary impulse remains essential to the Church's life, and finds expression not only in the preaching of the Gospel, but also in the witness of Christian charity", said the Pope today to prelates from the Indonesian Episcopal Conference at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

Continuing his English-language remarks, the Holy Father said: "This is the hallmark of every movement, action and expression of the Church, in all of her sacramental, charitable, educational and social endeavours, so that in everything her members may strive to make the Triune God known and loved through Jesus Christ.

"This", he added, "will not only contribute to the spiritual vitality of the Church as she grows in confidence through humble yet courageous witness; it will also strengthen Indonesian society by promoting those values that your fellow citizens hold dear: tolerance, unity and justice for all. Appropriately, Indonesia's Constitution guarantees the fundamental human right of freedom to practice one's religion. The freedom to live and preach the Gospel can never be taken for granted and must always be justly and patiently upheld. Nor is religious freedom merely a right to be free from outside constraints. It is also a right to be authentically and fully Catholic, to practice the faith, to build up the Church and to contribute to the common good, proclaiming the Gospel as Good News for all, and inviting everyone to intimacy with the God of mercy and compassion made manifest in Jesus Christ".

Pope Benedict encouraged the bishops to promote and support inter-religious dialogue in Indonesia. "Your country, so rich in its cultural diversity and possessed of a large population, is home to significant numbers of followers of various religious traditions", he told them. Thus, Indonesians "are well-placed to make important contributions to the quest for peace and understanding among the peoples of the world. Your participation in this great enterprise is decisive, and so I urge you .. to ensure that those whom you shepherd know that they, as Christians, are to be agents of peace, perseverance and charity".

"Believers in Christ, rooted in charity, ought to be committed to dialogue with other religions, respecting mutual differences. Common endeavours for the building up of society will be of great value when they strengthen friendships and overcome misunderstanding or distrust".

The Holy Father concluded: "I have confidence that you and the priests, religious and laity of your dioceses will continue to bear witness to the image and likeness of God in each man, woman and child, regardless of their faith, by encouraging everyone to be open to dialogue in the service of peace and harmony. By doing everything possible to ensure that the rights of minorities in your country are respected, you further the cause of tolerance and mutual harmony in your country and beyond".
AL/ VIS 20111007 (500)

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