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Rome Reports

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Malaysia's new Vatican ambassador: inter-religious dialogue, world peace, solidarity


In early June, Westmoreland Anak Edward Palon handed over his credentials to Pope Francis. Malaysia's new ambassador to the Holy See showed his enthusiasm for the new position with the smile he had on his face the entire time. 

WESTMORELAND PALON
Malaysia's Ambassador to the Holy See
“It was a very special moment. Not just for me, but for my entire family when we met Pope Francis for the very first time. He is well respected by leaders and people of other faiths. So it was indeed a great honor and blessing to have met him.”

Malaysia is a young country with an Islamic majority. It established diplomatic relations with the Holy See in mid-2011 and for the new ambassador it is a big responsibility.

WESTMORELAND PALON
Malaysia's Ambassador to the Holy See
“Malaysia has a population of around 32 million people today and Christians account for 10 percent of the population. The Catholic community is half of that 10 percent, over 1,000,000. I am pleased to say that the Catholic community in Malaysia is growing and thriving. The Catholic community is actively engaged with the traditions of other churches and denominations to promote ecumenism. It organizes with communities of other faiths to promote inter-religious dialogue.”

In his office he has the texts Pope Francis presented to him during their meeting. One of the most important encyclical's for the ambassador is Laudato si'. It is the pope's request to take care of the environment. 

The Holy See is also important for the ambassador because of its global influence. 

WESTMORELAND PALON
Malaysia's Ambassador to the Holy See
“The Holy See is regarded, or remains impartial to any political force block or country. For us, we certainly want to cooperate and collaborate with the Holy See on many issues particularly on inter-religious dialogue and to promote world peace and solidarity.”

Westmoreland Anak Edward Palon hopes with this new responsibility he can help deep inter-religious dialogue.