Pope Francis Visits the UAE

In the United Arab Emirates this Tuesday, Pope Francis addressed the 1 million Catholics living there. In Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City stadium 42,000 people filled the seats to listen to Pope Francis speak on being a Catholic in a Muslim country.

Pope Francis expounded on the issue of religious freedom.

“I would like to emphasize religious freedom,” and “Without freedom, we are no longer children [of God] but slaves.” the Pope proclaimed. Pope Francis also expressed his condemnation of the building of walls.

-Pope Francis February 5th 2019

The militarization of the human heart was a particular theme in his holiness’ homily.

“I like to quote St. Francis, when he gave his brothers instructions about approaching the Saracens and non-Christians. He wrote: ‘Let them not get into arguments or disagreements, but be subject to every human creature out of love for God, and let them profess that they are Christians.’”
“St. Francis pointed out that Christians set out armed only with their humble faith and concrete love.”

-Pope Francis February 5th 2019

The importance of meekness was also a strong point made by Pope Francis in his speech.

“Meekness is important,” “If we live in the world according to the ways of God, we will become channels of his presence; otherwise, we will not bear fruit.”

-Pope Francis February 5th 2019

The Beatitudes from the Gospel of Matthew were chosen as the Gospel reading for this mass. Pope Francis outlined the Gospel message by saying if you love to listen to Jesus’ word just as his disciples did and you try to live his word every day, then you are blessed.

“Not you will be blessed, but you are blessed.”

-Pope Francis February 5th 2019

His Holiness sermonized that people today believe that being wealthy is to be blessed. Jesus demonstrated that this was not the case.

“blessed are the poor, the meek, those who remain just even at the cost of appearing in a bad light, those who are persecuted.” 

-Pope Francis February 5th 2019

“[Jesus was] poor in respect to things, but wealthy in love; he healed so many lives, but did not spare his own,”
“He came to serve and not to be served; he taught us that greatness is not found in having but rather in giving.”

-Pope Francis February 5th 2019

All of the religious leaders congregated together in the UAE can aspire a sense of trust and faith to people of good will. Pope Francis continued that religions must not cease their aid to ” the flourishing seeds of peace

Religious leaders gathered together in the UAE, Francis closed, can offer a “message of trust, an encouragement to all people of good will, so that they may not surrender to the floods of violence and the desertification of altruism.”

Religions, he said, cannot postpone their aid to the blooming concept of peace that will aid justice and human rights.

While in the UAE Pope Francis is working with prince Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan and professor Ahmed al-Tayyeb who is the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University in Cairo. The prince declared a new “Human Fraternity” award. This will be awarded to people who work “tirelessly and ceaselessly to bring people together“. The first recipients of this award were Pope Francis and Professor al-Tayyeb.


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Image Credits to CNS Photo/Paul Haring.