Building the Church in Arabia Is About More Than Just Buildings

Mideast-Bahrain-Church-Project.JPEG-0f871-550x355King Isa Al Khalifah of Bahrain has given land to the Catholic Church to construct a 2,500-seat church in the Middle Eastern island nation, to be called Our Lady of Arabia. Bishop Camillo Ballin, the apostolic vicar of the northern Arabian Peninsula, traveled to the United States this month to raise a portion of the $30 million needed for the construction of the Church.

Bishop Ballin spoke with Register correspondent Christopher Crawford on March 14 in Washington, D.C., about the challenges facing the Church in the Muslim-dominated region.

Please start by telling our readers about the history of the Church in northern Arabia.

Many people have started to come from India, Asia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries. They started to come for work and to have a better life. So now the Catholic community is by very far the [largest religious] community. We are in good relations with the Protestants, with the Anglicans. There are not even conflicts between us and the Muslims. Certain tensions are among the Muslims themselves; not between the Muslims and the Christians.


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