Home News Indonesian cardinal hits Widodo’s proposal for religious groups’ involvement in mining

Indonesian cardinal hits Widodo’s proposal for religious groups’ involvement in mining

Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo, the Archbishop of Jakarta, has rejected President Joko Widodo’s proposal for religious organizations to participate in mining operations.

The debate began after President Jokowi endorsed Government Decree No. 25 of 2024, which permits business entities owned by religious organizations to manage coal mining projects until 2029. 

This decision has been criticized by environmentalists, religious leaders, and human rights activists.

Opponents point out that past mining operations have led to environmental and safety issues, including fatal accidents at poorly managed mining sites and chemical contamination harming human health and ecosystems. 

Conflicts over land rights and territorial changes due to mining have also been reported.

During an impromptu media interview at the Jakarta Branch Office of the Indonesian Ministry for Religious Affairs, Cardinal Suharyo said, “The Indonesian Bishops of Conference (KWI) will never see this as an opportunity to be involved in mining projects. It is not the domain of the Church’s pastoral work.”

The prelate reiterated that the Catholic Church’s role remains focused on pastoral duties without involvement in mining. 

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Similarly, the Semarang-based Catholic University Student Association (PMKRI) issued a statement rejecting the president’s proposal.

President Jokowi responded to the backlash by clarifying that the mining permits (IUPK) would be issued not to religious organizations directly, but to their business entities. 

He emphasized the distinction, amid concerns about the challenges and potential corruption in mining.

“Operating a mining project is not easy,” said a political analyst and former mining director, Mr. Budi. “There’s always ‘mafia’ in so many fields.”

The issue continues to draw reactions, underscoring the tension between economic development and environmental and societal protection.

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