Indonesian bishop criticizes mega Jesus statue project

(UCAN) A Catholic bishop in Indonesia’s Papua province has criticized a plan by local authorities in Jayapura to build “the world’s tallest statue of Jesus,” calling the move a waste of much-needed money.

Djuli Mambaya, head of Papua’s public work agency, told reporters last week that construction would cost 300 billion rupia (US$23 million) and begin sometime next year.

Planners say the statue at 73 meters high would dwarf the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is 38 meters high.

A museum will also be built that would highlight Papua’s Christian and cultural heritage, they said.

The announcement brought swift condemnation by the local Catholic bishop.

“It’s unnecessary. The money should be allocated for more urgent things such as education, health and alleviating poverty,” Franciscan Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar of Jayapura told ucanews.com.

Papua governor, Lukas Enembe said the project aims to dispel perceptions that Papau is a place of violence and attract visitors to the Christian-majority province.

“It will be an icon and a symbol of Christianity in Papua,” he said. [More]

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UCAN