Monarchy and tolerance

From the Monarchist Initiative

King of Bahrain donates plot of land to build a Catholic church

А new Catholic church is going to be built in the country’s capital Manama. The decision by King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa comes in response to a request Pope Benedict XVI made to the Gulf State when its new ambassador presented its credentials to the Holy See.

“Everyone is aware today that because of the rising number of Catholics, it would be desirable for them to have more places of worship,” the Pope said during the audience with Naser Muhamed Youssef Al-Belooshi, first representative of the Arab kingdom to the Vatican.

About 80 per cent of the 800,000 people living in the country are Muslim (60 per cent Sunni and 20 per cent Shia). Catholics represent about 10 per cent, mostly foreign workers from Asian nations.

Bahrain became the first country in the Persian Gulf to build a Catholic church, the Sacred Heart Church, which will celebrate its 70th anniversary this year, since it was inaugurated with a Christmas Midnight Mass in 1939.

Relations between the Holy See and the Gulf kingdom saw significant progress in 2008. Not only did the Vatican receive the first ambassador from Bahrain, but King Hamad met Pope Benedict XVI as well. After the meeting on 9 July the sovereign issued an official communiqué inviting the Holy Father to visit the country.

Dieu le Roy,
de Brantigny

Note: I have been to Bahrain. (it is a mile from the sun). A Catholic Church will be a nice addition to the capital of Manama, but, (yes, there is always a but) I expect it to be the target of terrorist from all over the middle east. As far as I know, a fatwa should be descending on the King for giving anything religious to an infidel, especially if there is a possibility that someone may convert to Catholicism. I will believe in the tolerance of the king when he allows a Synagogue to be built.

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