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Jan 27 19, 1:19 am

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Pope Francis’ UAE visit a historic moment for Catholic Church: Bishop Paul Hinder

by | EDITOR’S CHOICE, News, TOP STORIES

Jan. 27, 19 | 1:19 am

The Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia has expressed his happiness on the first-ever Papal Visit to the Arabian Peninsula, saying that it is a “historic moment for us in the Catholic Church”.

In an exclusive interview with the Emirates News Agency, WAM, Bishop Paul Hinder said that while the planning for the trip on such short notice had posed a challenge, it was a welcome one.

“I am happy because it shows the openness of this country and is a unique opportunity to show the world what is happening here [in the UAE],” the Bishop continued.

Bishop Paul Hinder

The Pope’s visit, following an invitation by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, will draw attention to the global role of the UAE as an international leader in promoting religious coexistence. It also builds on the positive relationship between the UAE and the Vatican, who have enjoyed diplomatic ties since 2007. The first Catholic church in the UAE opened in Abu Dhabi in 1965, with the number of Catholics residing in the country now estimated as being nearly one million.

Bishop Hinder said that the openness of the UAE, with its spirit of tolerance and mutual acceptance, “is a lesson” to be learned from, “even for other parts of the world.”

Reflecting on his time as the Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, Hinder said, “I have been here for 15 years, and have had a good relationship with the authorities in Abu Dhabi.”

The Bishop said that he is “good friends” with Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the Minister of Tolerance, adding that the two are in frequent touch and have worked together on various occasions and events involving the Catholic Church and other churches in the UAE.

Commenting on the decision by the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to declare 2019 as the Year of Tolerance, Bishop Hinder said that he saw it as an opportunity to develop further the ties of human fraternity. He emphasized the importance of partnering with various ministries in the UAE, not only during the Pope’s visit but beyond, to ensure a “sustainable effect”.

“For 15 years, we have achieved strong developments in the relationship between the local population and the churches here,” he explained, adding that “we have to strengthen and deepen the spirit of tolerance” to overcome “unfavorable tendencies” throughout the world.

He expressed his belief that there are “good conditions” to overcome these issues, “both from the Emirati side and from the different Christian Churches”.

The Pope’s visit, from 3rd to 5th February in the nation’s capital, Abu Dhabi, is being seen as an invitation for collaboration between all those who seek peaceful dialogue and cooperation.

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THE FILIPINO TIMES is the biggest and most trusted Filipino newspaper in the UAE.

It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 1 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

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