Saturday, April 28, 2012
CNS NEWS BRIEFS Apr-27-2012:
The bishop overseeing the church in southern Arabia predicted Catholic life will remain safe in most Gulf states despite threatened new restrictions in Kuwait. Bishop Paul Hinder, who heads the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, said that although the church lacks resources, its most important priority is to "keep what it has. Things are far from ideal in some countries, but we can live and avoid major problems if we don't put at risk the relatively good understandings we enjoy," Bishop Hinder said. The apostolic vicariate was established by the Vatican in 2011. The Swiss-born Capuchin Franciscan prelate spoke after legislators in Kuwait acted to curb Christian religious rights by voting to make blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed a capital offense. Bishop Hinder told Catholic News Service April 26 that religious rights long had been ambiguous in Kuwait, which was liberated from Iraqi occupation by the United States and its allies in the 1991 Gulf War. However, he added, the position of Christians was unlikely to "change essentially" in neighboring United Arab Emirates and Oman despite disruptions in church life in Yemen because of recent political turmoil. "We're in touch with government advisers, so there's no communication problem," the 70-year-old bishop said.
See the account of my experiences of being a Catholic in Kuwait in a guest blog for The Times' Articles of Faith (paywall)