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Rome & the World: Pope to Bahrain? • how the Queen loved Catholics



A view of Our Lady of Arabia Cathedral in Awali, south of the Bahraini capital Manama

I.Media - published on 09/22/22

Every day, Aleteia offers a selection of articles written by the international press about the Church and the major issues that concern Catholics around the world. The opinions and views expressed in these articles are not those of the editors.

Thursday 22 September 2022
1. Why Pope Francis could visit the Kingdom of Bahrain
2. The history of the friendship between Queen Elizabeth and British Catholics
3.Is Pope Francis’ diplomacy of dialogue failing?
4. Pope Francis, the old and the new Ostpolitik
5. Mexico and the Vatican celebrate a 30-year-relationship amongst tensions and harmony

1Why Pope Francis could visit the Kingdom of Bahrain

On the plane returning to Rome from Kazakhstan, the director of the Vatican press office, Matteo Bruni, said that a possible papal trip to the Kingdom of Bahrain in November is being studied. Catholic News Agency journalist Andrea Gagliarducci identifies three elements that could set the stage for this trip : “a missionary bishop, a Marian devotion, and a Muslim country open to Christians.” The first element concerns “visionary Bishop Camillo Ballin,” who spent 50 years in Arab countries and was the Vicar Apostolic of Northern Arabia until his death in April 2020. The Italian Comboni missionary was the force behind the creation of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Arabia, inaugurated in the city of Awali in December 2021. This place of worship can host 2,300 people and was built with the King’s permission on land donated by the monarch. By going to Bahrain, the Pope can “pay homage to the late bishop behind the project,” the article explains. Additionally Bishop Ballin had worked for a papal visit to Bahrain for many years, as he had told CNA that the Argentinian Pontiff had been invited as early as 2014. The second element Gagliarducci analyzes is in fact the devotion to Our Lady of Arabia, flourishing since December 1948 when a small chapel in Kuwait was created with this title and included a statue that had been blessed in the Vatican by Pope Pius XII. In 1957, Pius XII proclaimed Our Lady of Arabia the principal patroness of the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia (Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia). In 2011 the Holy See also made her patroness of the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia (United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen). Lastly, Gagliarducci explains how the Kingdom of Bahrain is one of the few nations in the region with a local Christian population that has grown since 1930. Most Christians are migrants from Asia, particularly from the Philippines.

Catholic News Agency, English  

2The history of the friendship between Queen Elizabeth and British Catholics

The funeral of the Queen of the United Kingdom, on Monday 19 September, was celebrated according to the Anglican liturgy, but with an ecumenical tone desired by Elizabeth II, who had left precise instructions on the ceremony. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the current Archbishop of Westminster, who attended and was seated with representatives of other Christian churches, pronounced a prayer on behalf of the Catholic Church. Although very strict about her role as head of the Anglican Communion, the late Queen had shown many signs of closeness to the Catholic Church, in her meetings with Popes from Pius XII to Francis, but also in her relations with the British episcopate. In an interview with Omnes, the new English Cardinal, Arthur Roche, Prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and former Bishop of Leeds, recalls her attitude of great respect towards Catholicism. He recalls that the Queen, during the time of Cardinal Basil Hume, was the first member of the Royal Family to publicly visit a Catholic Church on November 1, the feast of All Saints, and to attend the celebration of Vespers in the Cathedral. He also added that she was close to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster from 2000 to 2009, whom she invited on numerous occasions to attend state banquets and even to preach in Sandringham House, a royal residence. To the surprise of the guests, she had even gone to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s episcopal residence upon his retirement. Cardinal Roche also recalls that when the Queen attended a morning prayer in Belfast with the Presbyterians, as she left their church “she noticed opposite there was a Catholic church so she simply walked across the road and entered the Catholic church, only to discover that the Presbyterian minister and the Catholic priest had actually been working together for greater social cohesion among that community.” The new King Charles III continues on this same path and his meeting with religious leaders in the early days of his reign shows the importance he gives to interfaith relations.

Omnes, English  

3. Is Pope Francis’ diplomacy of dialogue failing? 

Religion News Service journalist analyzes how Pope Francis returned from his brief trip to Kazakhstan, a country nestled between Russia and China, without having been able to sit down with his Russian counterpart, Patriarch Kirill, or with the delegation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Religion News Service, English

4. Pope Francis, the old and the new Ostpolitik

The diplomatic activity of Pope Francis has been repeatedly compared to Ostpolitik. Why?

Monday Vatican, English

5. Mexico and the Vatican celebrate a 30-year relationship among tensions and harmony

Mexico is celebrating 30 years of re-established diplomatic relations with the Vatican, amid continuing tensions between the government of Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador and the Catholic Church, despite its ideological harmony with Pope Francis.

Infobae, Spanish.

Rome & the World
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