The opening of new offices and residence of the Apostolic Nunciature in Kuwait, which will cover the entire Arabian Peninsula, was celebrated with a diplomatic reception at its premises in Yarmouk, Wednesday evening. The opening was graced by the presence of Nasser Al Muzayyen, Director of the GCC Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and attended by members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of various Christian denominations as well as Archbishop Petar Rajic, the Apostolic Nuncio, Mons. Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia and Mons. Camillo Ballin, Apostolic Vicar of Northern Arabia. The event also coincides with the Forty-fifth anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the State of Kuwait and the Holy See which was officially established on the Oct 21, 1968. The first Apostolic Nuncio to actually reside in Kuwait arrived only in Jan 2000. The Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, Archbishop Angelo Becciu remarked that throughout the last thirteen years, the presence of an Apostolic Nuncio has helped to improve the mutual exchange of knowledge and understanding between Christians and Muslims, as the number of Catholics has steadily increased in the region
"On behalf of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and of the Catholic Church I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the esteemed Authorities of Kuwait, for their constant support towards our mission and for showing openness and understanding towards the spiritual needs of our Catholic faithful", he said. He informed that over the years, four more countries of the Arabian Peninsula formally established diplomatic relations with the Holy See: the Republic of Yemen in 1998, the Kingdom of Bahrain in 2000, the State of Qatar in 2002 and the United Arab Emirates in 2007. "I take this opportunity to express our thanks to the authorities of these countries through their Ambassadors in Kuwait." "When the Holy Father received the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See in March of this year, he emphasized: 'It is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people. Hence it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam'. I hope that the presence of many Christians in this region, as well as the efforts of our Apostolic Nunciature may contribute towards an authentic experience of dialogue and cooperation, in mutual respect and friendship, towards the desired goal of peaceful coexistence that gives glory to God and establishes good will amongst all peoples", he shared. Archbishop Becciu recalled the message of Pope Francis given at the end of Ramadan this year, in which he had stressed that "we are called to respect the religion of the other, its teachings, its symbols, its values. Particular respect is due to religious leaders and to places of worship". Nasser Al Muzayyen on behalf of the Minister of Foreign conveyed his pleasure at being part of the opening of the Embassy of the Vatican and noted that 44-year-old diplomatic relations were marked by friendly and affirmative dealings based on respect for human rights, peaceful dialogue and promotion of progress and prosperity.
Archbishop Becciu who visited the Grand Mosque and Catholic Church in Kuwait City earlier in the day conveyed his appreciation for the welcome he received. "It is nice to see the good dialogue and relationship between Christians and Muslims. As worshippers of God, we must do all the best to encourage peace", he said. He did note that larger facilities were needed to accommodate the increase in the number of Christians which is mostly made up of Kuwait's expatriate population, "We need more churches to help the Christians to express their faith." He also commented on Pope Francis' efforts to help bring a solution to the crisis in Syria, “The mission of the Holy Father is to find out solutions to Syria because always Christians think the solution is in dialogue and not in war. War never brings solutions to problems.” When asked about the persecution of Christians in Egypt, he stated that Egyptian Christians need to be respected as fellow countrymen. "The Holy Father is giving us a new direction, although the doctrine is always the same. He has begun to emphasize aspects like being more merciful, understanding the problems of the world and improving dialogue among other religions. The Holy Father is inviting us all to have a new attitude, not to give too much importance to material things but use the power of the word of God which is more important than our human meaning", he remarked
By: Cinatra Fernandes, Arab Times Staff