Church Closed in Local Dispute

Church closed in local dispute

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Thousands of Catholics in Tambora district, West Jakarta have been
forced to rent space in which to worship after locals and officials
prevented them from holding services in their 40-year-old church.

“We are estranged from our roots. We’ve been here since 1968. We
have now 3,500 people listed in our congregation. Half of them are
from West Jakarta and the other half from Central Jakarta,” parish
head Father Matheus Widyolestari MSC told The Jakarta Post on
Monday.

Father Widyo said that the conflict began last week when subdistrict
officials asked whether there were plans to enlarge the small
church.

The conflict continued to heat up until locals calling themselves
the Cooperation Forum for Mosque, Prayer Rooms (Musholla) and
Koranic Recital Group (Majlis Taklim) of Duri Selatan subdistrict
demanded the parish stop holding services last Friday.

Father Widyo acknowledged that the area was a designated residential
area. The chapel started out in 1968 as a multi-function room of a
Catholic school run by the Mother of Sacred Heart Foundation. As the
Catholic congregation in the area grew, the space turned into a
small church.

The religious activities were endowed only with the permission of
local neighborhood leaders.

In 1998, according to the chronology provided by the church, “Former
Governor Sutiyoso agreed to change the usage allocation (of the
space) from residential to social function.”

“Afterwards, we filed an application to acquire a building permit
for the church. But the city rejected us; there has never been any
explanation for that,” he said.

Father Widyo said that he had submitted all the requirements needed
to apply for a church building permit.

A joint regulation issued by Religious Affairs Ministry and the Home
Affairs Minister last year stipulates that a community of 80 people
living in one neighborhood can file an application to build a
church. Father Widyo said that in Duri Selatan alone there are at
least 195 Catholics.

The same regulation also says a church needs at least 60 non-
Catholic local residents to approve the plan to build the church.
For this requirement, Father Widyo said that more than 115 people
had signed his petition.

He said that the chapel had been very open to the community. He said
that during the February floods, the chapel gave help to affected
residents.

“We will accept any decision, even if our church has to be closed
down. However, we would like the district head to provide a place
for us to pray,” Father Widyo said. (tif)

2 Tanggapan

  1. Semoga masalah ini segera dapat dipecahkan sehingga umat Katolik dapat segera beribadah dengan tenang dan nyaman.

    Tuhan memberkati.

  2. Based on other news, the church can open again. Thanks GOD.
    I hope they also can get permission to build the new church as so far they are never get building permit until now. I’d been there since I was in kindy until primary. That’s only small open hall. I moved to Australia ,already have 15 yo daughter and the building permit still not approve yet?
    What a great support from the government ? Indonesia was a beautiful and peaceful country, but seems only a history now.

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