Pope Francis to bring message of fraternity to all Islam
The historic trip of Pope Francis to Bahrain is aimed at promoting dialogue between Catholics and Muslims in the interest of peace.
By Claire Giangravé – VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Pope Francis will become the first pontiff to visit the tiny island country of Bahrain, in the Persian Gulf, on Thursday (Nov. 3), promoting his continuing message of fraternity, dialogue and peace with Islam.
The four-day apostolic visit will occur “under the sign of dialogue,” Francis said during his weekly Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. While Catholics make up a small percentage of Bahrain’s population — an estimated 80,000 to 100,000, almost all transplants from other nations, among 1.7 million residents — the pope’s visit carries a broader message, to the Muslim communities in the country, split between the Shiite and Sunni sects, and the Islamic world.
The papal trip “is an invitation to dialogue, an invitation to encounter between East and West, in a reality, such as that of Bahrain, which is a multiethnic, multicultural and multireligious reality,” said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, in an interview with Vatican Media.