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Religious moderation: Best formula for bridging pluralism in Indonesia

Some of the participants of a Religious Moderation Guidance workshop for Religious and Community Leaders of the Sulawesi Province, April 18-21, 2022. (Photo provided)

The Directorate General of Catholic Community Guidance organized a workshop to promote tolerance and solidarity among religious and community leaders of the Sulawesi Province, April 18-21.

The aim was to strengthen religious moderation. As many as 62 participants attended the event.

Opening the program, Director of Catholic Religious Affairs Aloma Sarumaha said that religious moderation is the best formulation prepared by the Ministry of Religion to bridge the diversity of Indonesian society.

"To carry out its main task of maintaining religious harmony, the Ministry of Religion continues to look for the best way to manage the diversity of the country’s diverse society," wrote the Director-General.

For the Indonesians, religious harmony is a crucial instrument in their efforts to build this nation into an advanced and competitive nation. The formula that was compiled was called the concept of religious moderation.

Furthermore, the Director of Catholic Religious Affairs also said that the participants in this religious moderation development activity represented three important elements in the growth of a tolerant Catholic society, namely, the government represented by the Directorate General of Catholic Community Guidance, the Church represented by religious leaders, and the community represented by Catholic community leaders.

These three major elements need to work in synergy, united in hearts, minds, and determination for the development of the Catholic community in particular and the development of this nation in general.

Present on the occasion was the chairman of the Regional Office of the Ministry of Religion of North Sulawesi Province, H. Anwar Abubakar, who spoke about the portrait of religious harmony of North Sulawesi Province.

“In general, in North Sulawesi, there are Interreligious Cooperation Agencies which are symbols of strengthening religious moderation in the North Sulawesi region, which continues to be echoed from time to time,” explained Abubakar.

In addition, the two institutions of inter-religious cooperation, according to him, also conveyed the local wisdom that lives in the people of North Sulawesi, namely "Sitou Timou Tumou Tou" which means ‘humanizing humans’. 

This local wisdom is the main asset for the people of North Sulawesi in building tolerant and harmonious attitudes.

The Apostolic Prefecture of Celebes was created on November 19, 1919, on territory split off from the Apostolic Vicariate of Batavia. In 1934, it was promoted as the Apostolic Vicariate of Celebes. 

Three years later, in 1937 renamed as Apostolic Vicariate of Manado, having lost territory to establish the then Apostolic Prefecture of Makassar. Finally, on January 3, 1961, it became the Diocese of Manado, as a suffragan of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Makassar.

As of 2019, it pastorally served 145,155 Catholics (21.0% of 690,712 total) on 90,000 km² in 67 parishes and 240 missions with 149 priests (103 diocesans, 46 religious), 321 lay religious (177 brothers, 164 sisters). Its service area covers the entire administrative provinces of North Sulawesi, Gorontalo, and Central Sulawesi. 


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