The Archbishop of Jakarta Mgr. Ignatius Suharyo has complained about the difficulties faced by Christians in Indonesia in gaining building permits when they want to construct churches.
During Christmas celebrations in Jakarta Cathedral on Tuesday, Suharyo expressed his hopes that the government would soon resolve problems related to church-building permits.
“We are not allowed to build our own places of worship. Then we pray wherever we can, in often far from ideal circumstances. But we are not even allowed to do this either,” he said as quoted by kompas.com on Tuesday. “We don’t know what else to do.”
Suharyo referred to the ongoing disputes in the construction of the Filadelfia Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) in Bekasi and Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) in Bogor, West Java. The two churches have spent years struggling to obtain permits to build churches but have faced adamant rejection from several hardliner groups.
Suharyo mentioned another case of a church in Karawaci, Banten, which had to wait for 24 years before its building permit was issued.
Suharyo urged the government to take significant steps to resolve the problems, as he believed that every religion should have the same opportunities to build places of worship. (cor/lfr)