Muslim Criticism and Support

For first Catholic Church in Qatar, from Asia News Italy:

The Catholic church of St. Mary, constructed as planned without a bell tower or cross, is close to inauguration.  In spite of the great modesty of the Catholic community, there is no lack of disagreement on the part of a Muslim intellectuals who are firmly opposing the new church, maintaining that a popular referendum is necessary.

The pages of the newspaper Al-Arab read, “the cross should not be raised in the sky of Qatar, nor should bells toll in Doha”.  In a letter to Al-Watan, the engineer Rashed al-Subaie maintains that the Christians have the right to practice their faith, but should not have permission to build places of worship.  The lawyer and former justice minister Najib al-Nuaimi expresses himself as along the same lines. Nuaimi stresses that Qatar is a Muslim country, not a secular one, and maintains that a referendum is the only way to ensure that the church is socially acceptable.

Moderate comments of support come from Abdul Hamid al-Ansari, a former head of the faculty of Islamic law (sharia) at the University of Qatar, who has published articles in various newspapers welcoming the Catholic church in Doha: “places of worship for various religions is a fundamental human right guaranteed by Islam”.

St Mary’s will ultimately become a gathering place for the community of Catholics, who number about 100,000 faithful from Southeast Asia and from the West. “It will be merely a place for collective prayer”, says St. Mary’s parish priest, Father Tomasito Veneracion. “It will not have crosses outside the building or serve as a platform for proselytising”. A simple inauguration ceremony will be provided over by Cardinal Ivan Dias and Bishop Paul Hinder on March 14.  Five other churches are planned for the same property where St Mary stands, including Anglican, Coptic, and Greek Orthodox churches.

Head of German Bishops Conference Stirs Up Controversy

On celibacy, from Deutsche Welle:

In an interview with the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, 69-year-old archbishop of Freiburg, Robert Zollitsch, who is now head of the German Catholic Church, said that celibacy and the unmarried lives of priests were a “gift,” but not essential.


Furthermore, he said it would be a “revolution” if the celibacy tradition within the Catholic Church were dissolved.


Upon this week’s publication of the interview, Regensburg’s bishop, Gerhard-Ludwig Müller, said in a prompt press release: “All of the specifics of being a priest and the corresponding rules of celibacy could not be expanded upon, as a theological context would require, in a quick interview.”


“The Second Vatican Council made clear in Article 16 — “Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests” — what the decisive requirements are,” Müller added. “That is and will remain the policy of the Catholic Church.”

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