Money for giant Statue of Jesus better spent on the poor


A Catholic bishop in Indonesia’s Papua province has criticised a plan by local authorities in Jayapura to build “the world’s tallest statue of Jesus”.

The bishop called the move a waste of much-needed money.

The statue, which would be built at the top of Puncak Gunung Swajah in the city of Jayapura, would cost somewhere between US$22.6 million to US$37.6 million, which is a significant amount of money for Papua, where 28.5 percent of the population live below the poverty line.

Planners say the statue at 73 meters high would dwarf the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro 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

He said the local government should sit down with church leaders “and address more important issues, such as poverty, killings, and other forms of crimes that are against Christian values.”

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

Yuliana Woi, a vegetable seller in Jayapura, said although the statue was a good idea in principle, the government needed to get its priorities right by placing the interests of local people first.

Building a market so people do not have to sell their wares on the street would be a start, she said.

“A statue will not change our lives, but being able to sell things will,” she said.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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