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March 29, 2008

A Catholic Church In Saudi Arabia?

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives

Sounds as though it could happen:

The Vatican is negotiating with authorities in Saudi Arabia for permission to build the country's first Roman Catholic church, sources in the Holy See said yesterday.

The move evidently heralds a major policy change toward the nearly 1 million Christians working in the unbendingly conservative Wahhabi kingdom.

Riyadh and the Holy See have been holding discreet discussions on the sensitive issue for several weeks and the two sides are "locked together," said Archbishop Mounged El-Hachem, the papal nuncio, or Vatican ambassador, to the Persian Gulf states of Kuwait, Qatar, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

More ......

On the other hand, perhaps we shouldn't get our hopes up that the Saudis are sincere. We're reminded in the above-linked article that Saudi Arabia has not allowed members of non-Muslim faiths to practice their religions, even in private, and the last Catholic priest discovered ministering clandestinely in the kingdom reportedly was expelled in 1985.

Then there's also this reason to be cautious about being optimistic for a Saudi change of heart: Saudi interfaith call seen as less than seems

Posted by Richard at March 29, 2008 9:23 AM

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