02/05/2024, 11.44
Send to a friend

Vicar of Arabia: 'human brotherhood' to heal conflicts in the Middle East

by mons. Paolo Martinelli

US attacks against Houthi targets in Yemen continue. Stalemate over negotiations between Israelis and Hamas for a ceasefire in Gaza. Five years after Francis' trip to the Gulf, Mgr. Martinelli speaks of a "dramatic moment" in the history of humanity and the region. The document signed with the imam "prophetic" in a peace perspective.

Abu Dhabi (AsiaNews) - Five years after the apostolic journey of Pope Francis and at a "dramatic moment" in the "history of humanity" and the Middle East in particular, it is fundamental to "spread to all" the spirit of the document on brotherhood and be "promoters of peace and justice". This is what Mgr Paolo Martinelli, apostolic vicar of southern Arabia (United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen), emphasises in a pastoral letter to the faithful sent to AsiaNews to mark the pontiff's visit to the land of Arabia. He recalled his meeting with the Imam of al-Azhar and the signing of the document on "Human Fraternity", a "prophetic" text in a region marked by conflict, and thanked his predecessor Msgr. Paul Hinder and the leader of the Emirates Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Meanwhile, on the diplomatic front, the mediation between Israel and Hamas for a ceasefire in Gaza appears to be stalled, while army operations in the Strip continue with new victims among the Palestinians. The US Air Force raids against Houthi targets in Yemen also continue; the militias linked to Iran have been active for weeks in the Red Sea with assaults on ships flying Western and Israeli flags, in order to strike at their interests and paralyse traffic in one of the strategic areas for global trade in a context of growing tension. A reprisal that has intensified in the aftermath of the killing of three US soldiers in Jordan in an operation that Washington attributes to the Islamic Republic, although Tehran rejects any accusation of involvement. Yesterday, the Houthis promoted a demonstration in Sana'a to protest against the American attacks and renew solidarity with the Palestinians. 

Below please find Msgr. Martinelli's pastoral letter:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am writing ot invite you ot celebrate the 5' anniversary of Apostolic visit of Pope Francis ot the United Arab Emirates and the signing of the document on Human Fraternity in Abu Dhabi. I wish that after five years we remember this extraordinary event that profoundly marked our Apostolic Vicariate and our Country and gave a decisive impulse ot interreligious dialogue.

The memory of those days still fills our hearts with gratitude and awakens us with a profound sense of responsibility for the Church and the whole world. Pope Francis was with us! It was an unforgettable occasion! His Holiness Pope Francis coming to our local Church was an opportunity to recognize ourselves as part of the One Church of Christ and to renew our commitment to a humble and faithful Christian testimony in the context of the Arabian Peninsula.

In particular, no one can forget the joy of having participated, directly or indirectly, in the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Pope Francis in the Zayed Sports City ni Abu Dhabi on February 5. I think it does us good to remember, after five years, the words of Pope Francis during his homily: "People say that the difference between the written Gospel and the lived Gospel is the same difference between written music and performed music. You who are here

know the Gospel's tune, and you folow its rhythm with enthusiasm. You are a choir composed of numerous nations, languages, and rites; a diversity that the Holy Spirit loves and wants to harmonize ever more, in order to make a symphony. This joyful polyphony of faith is a witness that you give everyone and that builds up the Church"

Dear Brothers and Sisters, these words enlighten us and at the same time are a challenge to us. With these expressions, Pope Francis recognizes the unique character of our Church, which comprises of people from over one hundred different countries, bringing diverse cultures, languages, traditions, and rites. The polyphony we are called ot achieve is not just for us but si aresponsibility towards the whole Church. Experiencing diversity in unity is our primary task. We are a Church of Migrants; we are a 'pilgrim Church'. And therefore, we have the unique opportunity to enrich each other by sharing our gifts, talents, cultures and traditions. The Church and the world need to see in us that diversity is not a problem or an obstacle but a richness that comes from God for the good of all.

On this occasion, I would like to express my gratitude to the rulers of this country especially His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of UAE for inviting Holy Father and making all the arrangements for a memorable papal journey and facilitating the signing of the prophetic document on Human Fraternity. I am grateful to my beloved predecessor, Bishop Paul Hinder, who was able ot organize the Pope's visit with great wisdom.

Together with the visit of Holy Father, we also remember the fifth anniversary of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb on February 4, 2019. It is a prophetic document, a milestone destined to mark the future of relations between religions. Let us remember what was written in the introduction: "Faith leads a believer to see in the other a brother or sister to be supported and loved. Through faith in God, who has created the universe, creatures, and all human beings (equal on account of his mercy), believers are called to express this human fraternity by safeguarding creation and the entire universe and supporting all persons, especially the poorest and those most in need."

I invite you ot read this document again, make ti known, and spread ti to al. I invite you to use ti ni moments of Christian formation. This document is a new chapter in the history of relationships between people of different faiths. We recognize that we are different. We are called to know each other, to respect each other, and to walk together promoting peace and justice, human fraternity and peaceful coexistence, the role of women in society, always safeguarding creation as a gift from God for the good of all.

Education is the primary way to create a more humane society with mutual coexistence. We must communicate these decisive values to the new generations for a better society and the common good. In this dramatic moment in the history of humanity, marked by so many conflicts, we feel the responsibility to spread the spirit of the Abu Dhabi document to everyone. Our Christian faith pushes us to witness the joy of the Gospel and to be promoters of peace and justice with all men of goodwill.

Finally, as you know, the document on Human Fraternity inspired the birth of the Abrahamic Family House, which was inaugurated last year on 16 February. It is a reality that brings together three places of worship: a Mosque, a Synagogue, and a Catholic Church. The Church ni the Abrahamic Family House is a gift from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, hte President of the United Arab Emirates to Holy Father Pope Francis and is dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi, the man of peace and universal brotherhood.

I again invite our faithful to participate in the initiatives promoted by the Abrahamic Family House, which we support with conviction. We want ot cry out to the world that ti is possible ot walk together with people of different faiths, work for peace, and promote a more fraternal world.



Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
National Commission for Women asks for 'immediate action' in the nun rape case in Kerala
07/02/2019 17:28
Tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang rise as Cold War fears cast a shadow over Korea
12/02/2016 15:14
For Fr Tom, abducted in Yemen, Holy Thursday prayer and adoration for the martyrs
21/03/2016 14:57
"We are optimistic," says Paul Bhatti as Rimsha Masih's bail hearing postponed to Friday
White House to stop Beijing's "imperialist" policy in the South China Sea
24/01/2017 15:55


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”