Cardinal Tagle: Pope leaves lasting legacy in Bahrain
By Devin Watkins and Linda Bordoni
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle was part of the entourage that accompanied Pope Francis in his four-day apostolic visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain.
As the visit drew to a close, he reflected on some of the highlights of the past days, and underscored their deeply pastoral and spiritual significance.
Speaking to Devin Watkins as one of the papal events came to an end amid the clatter and excitement of joyful participants, Cardinal Tagle explained that he calls it a “pilgrimage, because he [Pope Francis] related every item that he talked about to God and prayer, for it's only in God's eyes, as it were, that we will discover that we all came from one source and that we are interrelated”
Of course, he added, there is a lot of symbolism in the papal events as well as cultural and political undertones: “But in the end, it was really a call to prayer and adoration of the one God.”
Interfaith dialogue and Catholic faith
The two main aspects of the journey pertained to interreligious dialogue and the affirmation of their faith for the minority Gulf region Catholics.
The Cardinal pointed out that even in his focus on Christians, the Pope shone the light on ecumenism and the need to overcome divisions as well as on the fact that the institutions of the Catholic Church here are open to non-Christians. So, he continued, he is encouraging Catholics to provide a home in our schools and our hospitals and in "whatever service" to all people.
He noted that this region of the Gulf is “really mission territory” where priests, religious men and women carry out their pastoral ministry. But, he said, “our greatest missionaries here are the laypeople who came here to find jobs, but they found a mission here and they're doing very well in that.”
A big boost
Regarding the legacy and the impact of the visit for Catholics in Bahrain, Cardinal Tagle said it has been “a big, big encouragement, a big boost.”
“I've been hearing even from the laypeople who have been working here, they say that they felt affirmed” in their presence, in their relationships, in their the work,” he said.