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Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo (Crux/St Bernadette’s Parish)

Indonesian Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo says the Church will not take advantage of the country’s new law allowing religious organisations to get permits to operate mines. Source: Crux.

President Joko Widodo – called Jokowi – signed the decree last week as a sign of appreciation for the role religious organisations played in the country’s struggle for independence from the Netherlands.

A leading Indonesian environmental watchdog, Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM), said the Government was attempting to keep and control natural resources for the benefit of elites.

“We saw this as a transaction between Jokowi and religious groups,” JATAM’s national coordinator Melky Nahar told AFP.

“We read this as a gratitude from Jokowi to religious groups for supporting him during his two terms,” he said.

Indonesia has the world’s largest nickel reserves at roughly 21 million tons. Nickel is a crucial component in batteries used for electric vehicles.

Cardinal Suharyo told Crux the Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia will not take the opportunity to obtain permits to operate mines.

“This is very clear because operating mines is not the field of our mission to serve our people,” he said.

“In the context of the state’s offer that religious institutions will be given or become holders of mining industry, the Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia prefers a perpendicular and consistent attitude as a religious institution that carries out preaching and services for the realisation of a dignified common life system.”

Indonesia has a population of about 280 million people, 87 per cent of whom are Muslim. The Christian population is just over 10 per cent.

Cardinal Suharyo said the bishops’ conference prefers to “critically and wisely monitor various realities of ongoing development”.

“The Catholic Church always encourages governance to adhere to the principles of sustainable development, where economic growth must not sacrifice people’s lives and environmental sustainability,” Cardinal Suharyo said.


Cardinal says Catholic Church won’t take mine deals in Indonesia (By Nirmala Carvalho, Crux)