UAE Muslims prepare warm welcome for Pope


20170921T1318-11715-CNS-POPE-MUSLIM_800-690x450‘This is without doubt a historic visit, as a Pope has never been to the Arab Peninsula before and until recently this was considered unthinkable’

Bishop Paul Hinder, Vicar Apostolic of Southern Arabia, has said the Pope’s coming visit to United Arab Emirates next month is being warmly anticipated by Muslims as well as Christians.

Francis would be paying a visit to the “ very heart of Islam” so to speak, Hinder said in a long interview in the January issue of Alle Welt, the quarterly magazine of the Austrian branch of the Pontifical Mission Societies, or Missio.

The Pope’s visit to a mosque and the interreligious dimension of the visit could be compared to St Francis of Assisi’s visit to the Egyptian Sultan 800 years ago, Hinder said. “St Francis reached out to the Sultan across entrenched fronts at the time, which led to a friendly visit. I think Pope Francis is going to set a sign, namely that we must build bridges even if we do not believe in the same things”, he added. Such encounters and setting such signs were most important as far as the Muslim world was concerned, “as Muslims react very positively to them”.

“This is without doubt a historic visit, as a Pope has never been to the Arab Peninsula before and until recently this was considered unthinkable,” Hinder recalled. Francis was, moreover, coming in the year when the Catholic Church was celebrating the 800th anniversary of the meeting between St Francis of Assisi and Sultan Malik al-Kamil at Damietta in Egypt in the year 1219.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE TABLET (UK)

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Pope to visit United Arab Emirates in February

2231d982baf219d8a27fa94f99ee5a3e2a148582Pope Francis, who has made boosting ties between Christianity and Islam a cornerstone of his papacy, will visit Abu Dhabi in February, the Vatican said Thursday, becoming the first ever pope to visit the Arabian peninsula.

The pontiff, who turns 82 on December 17, has already visited several Muslim countries, including Turkey in 2014, Azerbaijan in 2016 and Egypt in 2017. He is scheduled to visit Morocco in March.

The pontiff was invited to the majority-Muslim country by both Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and the local Catholic church.

“The UAE is delighted to welcome His Holiness Pope Francis on the upcoming visit to the UAE,” tweeted the prince, who met Francis at the Vatican in 2016.

“He is a symbol of peace, tolerance and the promotion of brotherhood. We look forward to a historic visit, through which we will seek dialogue on the peaceful coexistence among peoples,” he said.

Francis will take part in an international “interfaith” meeting during the trip, which will run from February 3 to 5.

– ‘Culture of encounter’ –

The Vatican said the theme for the Abu Dhabi trip was summed up in the phrase “make me a channel of your peace” — a quote from Saint Francis of Assisi, the pope’s namesake.

The hope was the visit would “spread in a special way the peace of God within the hearts of all people of good will,” it said.

“This visit, like the one to Egypt, shows the fundamental importance the Holy Father gives to inter-religious dialogue,” spokesman Greg Burke said.

“Pope Francis visiting the Arab world is a perfect example of the culture of encounter,” he added.

FULL ARTICLE FROM FRANCE24

UAE visit signals new tone on Islam for Pope Francis

op07-Pope-UAEFor Roman Catholics every pope is infallible in his teachings, even if the incumbent takes a sharply different view from his immediate predecessor.

In Pope Francis, the current bishop of Rome, that observation is certainly true when it comes to the Christian church’s relationship with Islam. The Argentinian-born prelate draws sharp contrast to Pope Benedict, the retired Pope emeritus, when addressing this important relationship.

In his upcoming three-day visit to the UAE in February, Pope Francis is expected to double down on his promotion of tolerance and understanding between Christians and Muslims, a continuation of his outreach to Muslim communities around the world.

During a visit to Egypt in 2017, Pope Francis was clear on the need to stand up to extremism. He condemned the “idolatrous caricatures of God” that underlies violent ideologies.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NATIONAL 

Pope visit to Morocco: Encouraging Islam-Christian dialogue

cq5dam.thumbnail.cropped.750.422The Archbishop of Rabat writes a letter to the people of Morocco on Tuesday confirming the Pope’s March 2019 visit, one which he hopes will expand and encourage interreligious Islam-Christian dialogue.

By Francesca Merlo

In Tuesday’s letter to his “Dear Christian brothers and sisters”, Rabat’s Archbishop, Cristóbal López, reiterates the Holy See Press Office’s announcement that Pope Francis will be visiting Morocco from the 30th to the 31st of March 2019. Archbishop López highlights that there are many Christians in Morocco who are “passing through, on their difficult migration, towards Europe”.

Memories of love and hope

He recalls the 1985 visit of Pope Saint John Paul II, a memory which he says is “still alive”, and a visit, which he says brought “great hope, love and blessings” to the people and the Catholic Church in Morocco.

FULL ARTICLE FROM VATICAN NEWS 

A conversation on why Catholics need to dialogue with Muslims

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“It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God,” Pope Francis said early in his pontificate. “But the converse is also true: it is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people.”

Many U.S. Catholics have not only ignored their Muslim brothers and sisters but harbor discriminatory views about Muslims at alarming rates.

Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, “a multi-year research project that connects the academic study of Islamophobia with the public square,” released a report in 2016 that documented how U.S. Catholics view Muslims. America’s national correspondent, Michael O’Loughlin, reported then:

When asked, “What is your overall impression of Muslims?” 30 percent of those Catholics polled said they held unfavorable views, 14 percent said favorable and 45 percent said they held neither favorable nor unfavorable views… Forty-five percent of Catholics said that Islam encourages violence more than other religions while 24 percent said it encourages violence as much as other religions.

Jordan Denari Duffner, an associate at the Bridge Initiative and author of the new book, Finding Jesus Among Muslims: How Loving Islam Makes Me a Better Catholic, joins us on this week’s episode of Jesuitical. Jordan discusses why she felt called to work in Catholic-Islamic dialogue, and why it’s an essential part of the Christian vocation.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AMERICAN MAGAZINE 

Pope urges status quo, ‘wisdom and prudence’ for Jerusalem

Pope Francis called on Wednesday for the status quo of Jerusalem to be respected and for “wisdom and prudence” to prevail to avoid further conflict, hours before the expected announcement that the United States is recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Francis made the appeal during his weekly audience, after speaking with the Palestinian leader and soon after meeting with a delegation of Palestinian religious and intellectual representatives in a previously scheduled audience.

Francis said he was “profoundly concerned” about recent developments concerning Jerusalem, and declared the city a unique and sacred place for Christians, Jews and Muslims that has a “special vocation for peace.”

“I pray to the Lord that its identity is preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world and that wisdom and prudence prevail to prevent new elements of tension from being added to a global context already convulsed by so many cruel conflicts,” he said.

The Vatican has long sought an internationally guaranteed status for Jerusalem that safeguards its sacred character for Jews, Muslims and Christians.

Francis spoke by telephone on Tuesday with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, after President Donald Trump told Abbas of his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Vatican said the call with Francis was made at Abbas’ initiative.

Early Wednesday, Francis met with a delegation of Palestinian religious and intellectual leaders who were at the Vatican for a previously scheduled meeting with the Vatican’s interreligious dialogue office. The Vatican and the Palestinians plan to create a permanent working group on interfaith issues.

FULL ARTICLE FROM FOX NEWS 

Pope Francis fails to mention Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar speech

From the webmaster: This is a  huge disappointment to those concerned with the ethnic cleansing of Myanmar’s Muslim minority 

684x384_story-dd8c2711-7259-5f5c-98e2-f80f95743ab4_121300Pope Francis has given a speech in Myanmar without specifically mentioning its Muslim Rohingya community.

The south-east Asian country has been accused of ethnic cleansing with 620,000 Rohingya fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh since August.

Escapees told Save The Children there had been widespread rape, children burnt alive and dams being filled with bodies.

The pope said in his address on Tuesday (November 28): “The arduous process of peacebuilding and national reconciliation can only advance through a commitment to justice and respect for human rights.

“In the great work of national reconciliation and integration, Myanmar’s religious communities have a privileged role to play.

“Religious differences need not be a source of division and distrust, but rather a force for unity, forgiveness, tolerance and wise nation-building.

“The religions can play a significant role in repairing the emotional, spiritual and psychological wounds of those who have suffered in the years of conflict.”

His trip is so delicate that some papal advisors warned him against even saying the word “Rohingya”, lest he set off a diplomatic incident that could turn the country’s military and government against minority Christians.

Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingya as citizens nor as members of a distinct ethnic group with their own identity, and it rejects the term “Rohingya” and its use.

FULL ARTICLE FROM EURONEWS