Pope John Paul II called on the leaders of five religions in overwhelmingly Moslem Indonesia Tuesday to unite and ensure freedom and liberty for minority faiths.
In a speech to Protestants, Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems and fellow Catholics, the pontiff urged the faithful to "take the lead in showing that profound respect for others can foster enduring harmony."In a nation where Catholics make up only 3.1 percent of the country's 178 million population, the pope told the religious leaders that a spirit of dialogue and mutual respect could play a powerful role in building a peaceful and unified Indonesian society.
"Together let us strive for mutual understanding and peace," the pontiff implored. "On behalf of all mankind, let us make common cause of safeguarding and fostering those values which will build up the spiritual and moral health of our world."
The pope's appeal ended a second day of whirlwind activities starting in the historic central Java city of Jogjakarta, where the 69-year-old pontiff celebrated Mass from a towering bamboo altar, urging Indonesian Catholics to enrich the cultural and spiritual life of the nation despite their sparse numbers.