February 3, 2020 / 10:09 AM / 6 months ago

Pope plans Indonesia trip to promote inter-religious dialogue

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis speaks during the weekly general audience at the Vatican, January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis will promote inter-religious dialogue this year during a trip to the world’s biggest Muslim country Indonesia and make the first papal visit to mainly Catholic East Timor since it won independence from Jakarta, diplomatic sources said.

The trip, which will also include a visit to Papua New Guinea, is likely to take place in September, the sources said. The Vatican has not yet announced the trip.

East Timor is more than 95% Roman Catholic, a legacy of colonisation by Portugal. It won independence in 2002 from Indonesia, with which it shares a land border. The late Pope John Paul visited East Timor and Indonesia in 1989.

Papua New Guinea, which also shares a land border with Indonesia on another island, is predominantly Christian. Pope John Paul visited in 1984.

Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Peter Graff

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