Religious affairs minister invites Pope Francis to visit Indonesia

"With all humbleness we invite Pope Francis to visit Indonesia," the minister said when receiving Cardinal Pietro Parolin from the Vatican`s State Secretary.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesias minister of religious affairs Lukman Hakim Saifuddin has invited Pope Francis to visit the country to discuss various issues relating to peace and prevention of conflict between different religious followers.

"With all humbleness we invite Pope Francis to visit Indonesia," the minister said when receiving Cardinal Pietro Parolin from the Vaticans State Secretary at his office here on Wednesday.

He said he hoped the future visit would strengthen inter-faith dialog for its further development. He said he hoped with the visit Indonesia could showcase religious life in the country while Pope Francis could meet Catholic community.

Minister Lukman said Indonesia and Vatican have had good relations since 65 years ago and the number of Catholics in Indonesia is big enough at around seven millions.

To the cardinal Minister Lukman admitted that he was helped with the presence of religious leaders including from Catholic leaders and bishops across the provinces in the country because they have participated in carrying out the mission of the religious affairs ministry with regard to improving the quality of religious life of the Indonesian people.

He said he followed Pope Francis efforts to build inter-faith dialog through the media.

"Efforts to build inter-faith dialog is a very positive thing and we appreciate and thank very much for what Pope Francis has done so far whose impact is good for Indonesia as well as the world," he said.

Regarding Cardinal Pietros visit Minister Lukman said he hailed it and viewed the first visit by Vaticans state secretary as good for the relations between the two countries.

With regard to the invitation Cardinal Pietro welcomed it and would convey it to Pope Francis.

He said he hoped Pope Francis would have an opportunity to visit Indonesia and see religious life in the country.

Cardinal Pietro also invited minister Lukman to visit Vatican when he come to Europe,

"We are interested in Islam Nusantara (Islam archipelago," he said. (*)

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