TUESDAY
February 8, 2000
volume 11, no. 27
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

NUNCIO SAYS INDONESIAN PRESIDENT IS BLESSING

    JAKARTA (CWNews.com/Fides) - "This president is a blessing for Indonesia," said Archbishop Renzo Fratini, apostolic nuncio in Jakarta, referring to Abdurrahman Wahid.

    "He is a man dedicated to achieving ethnic and religious harmony and democracy," the archbishop continued. "In only two years, Indonesia has made giant steps forward in politics, economy, and regarding its international credibility. The leadership of Gus Dur [as Wahid is generally called] is decisive in this phase of transition from the old regime to democracy. What is more, now the army is on the President's side."

    Archbishop Fratini commented on what might come of Wahid's visit to Europe and to the Vatican this and last week. "The president's visit to the Holy Father is of great significance for peace, unity, and religious harmony in Indonesia. The religious implications of the encounter are evident: Wahid represents moderate Islam and the visit will help to consolidate the path of dialogue between Christians and Muslims in Indonesia and throughout the world," he said. The nuncio added that he is sure the encounter will send a clear signal of reconciliation for the internal struggle in the country, particularly the present conflict in the Malukus.

    "Wahid has always been known as a moderate leader," the archbishop concluded. "For some time now he has had regular contact with the Sant'Egidio Community in Rome, as a personality committed to Muslim/Christian dialogue. The visit will help to strengthen relations between Muslims and Catholics."

    Indonesia is the most populous Muslim majority country in the world, although there are sizeable Christian populations in the former Dutch and Portuguese colonies of the Spice Islands (Malukus) and East Timor. Muslim and Christian gangs have been warring in the Malukus, leaving thousands dead over the past year and East Timor saw widespread bloodshed following an independence vote last August.

          

February 8, 2000
volume 11, no. 27
NEWS & VIEWS

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