Pope Francis's Bahrain visit aims to seek ‘a war-free Middle East’
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
The upcoming visit of ‘Vicar of Christ’ to Bahrain is in line with the Vatican’s and Pope Francis’ aim to seek a ‘war-free Middle East’, Union of Catholic Asian News reported.
“The Supreme Pontiff was supposed to visit Bahrain as early as 2014 after the first meeting at the Vatican between Pope Francis and King Hamad.
“But the United Arab Emirates visit came first. The Pope signed the Declaration for Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together along with Shaikh Ahmed Al Tayeb in Abu Dhabi on Feb 4, 2019. His Majesty King Hamad has endorsed the Document on Human Fraternity as a major milestone to foster religious harmony,” the report said.
The report also praises the Kingdom for “being the greatest nation of tolerance in the whole region and world”.
Pope Francis will travel to the Kingdom for a three-day visit in November - an occasion that is expected to attract tens of thousands of Catholics and other followers.
The pontiff, 85, will visit the Arabian Gulf’s largest Roman Catholic Church in Awali.
This will be the second visit by the head of the church to the Arabian Gulf after Pope Francis's historic visit to the UAE in 2019.
“Pope Francis will make the announced apostolic journey to Bahrain from November 3 to 6 this year, visiting the cities of Manama and Awali on the occasion of the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence,” the Vatican has said.
“A statement released by the Director of the Holy See Press Office said the Pope had accepted the invitation of the country's civil and ecclesial authorities.
“During his Apostolic Journey, the Pope will visit the cities of Manama and Awali on the occasion of the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence.” Pope Francis will be the first Pope to visit the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The Royal Court later confirmed the news, announcing that Pope Francis will pay a historic visit upon the invitation of His Majesty.
His Holiness will participate in the “Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence,” to be held under the patronage of His Majesty the King, the Royal Court said.
The Royal Court looks forward to welcoming His Holiness the Pope to the Kingdom of Bahrain, acknowledging his sincere efforts to promote a culture of dialogue and peaceful coexistence, a statement issued said.
His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa met Pope Francis during His Majesty’s visit to the Vatican on May 19, 2014.
During the occasion, His Majesty also held talks with the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and the former Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.
According to a Holy See Press Office statement at the time, cordial discussions between the Bahraini King and the Pope focused on various themes of common interest, “with particular reference to the commitment towards peace and stability in the Middle East, as well as the promotion of dialogue and peaceful co-existence among all members of society.”
Mention was also made of the Christian community’s positive contribution to the country, and “appreciation was expressed for His Majesty’s personal interest in the needs of the local Catholic community”.