An image from Pope Francis' apostolic visit to Bahrain An image from Pope Francis' apostolic visit to Bahrain  (Vatican Media)

Cardinal Tagle: Pope leaves lasting legacy in Bahrain

Cardinal Tagle reflects on the legacy and on impact of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain, both in terms of the affirmation of Catholics in the region and in the promotion of interreligious dialogue.

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.

“It is a pilgrimage of peace and the call for all peoples of religions, different religions and cultures and nationalities to rediscover our common humanity.”

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.

“I think there will be many unseen effects of this visit. But the people who live here and work here will witness to that change.”

Listen to Cardinal Antonio Luis Tagle
06 November 2022, 14:14