The Jakarta Post
Pope Francis may visit Indonesia and neighboring Timor Leste and Papua New Guinea in September, Nadhlatul Ulama (NU) supreme council secretary-general Yahya Cholil Staquf said following his meeting with the head of the Catholic Church last week.
Yahya met with the pope while in Rome on Jan. 15 to discuss the importance of social activism in addressing interreligious conflict alongside a number of other religious leaders.
Following the discussion, the religious leaders held a meeting with Pope Francis at his residence to talk about conclusions from the earlier talks.
After the private meeting, Yahya was quoted by the Christian News Network as saying that the pope had planned to visit Indonesia, Timor Leste and Papua New Guinea in September.
Pope Francis had previously expressed interest in visiting Indonesia.
There are around 24 million Christians living in Indonesia, 7 million of whom are Catholic.
Pope St. Paul VI visited Indonesia in 1970, followed by Pope St. John Paul II in 1989. During his visit, Pope St. John Paul II also visited Timor Leste –previously East Timor under Indonesia’s administration.
Nearly 98 percent of the 1 million people living in Timor Leste are Catholic, while nearly all Papua New Guinea people are Christian, 26 percent of whom are Catholic. Pope St. John Paul II visited Papua New Guinea in 1984. (rfa)