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Pope arrives in Bahrain, speaks against death penalty

November 03, 2022

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CWN Editor's Note: Pope Francis arrived in Bahrain on November 3, becoming the first Roman Pontiff to visit that country.

In his first public address in Bahrain, the Pope spoke out against the death penalty, which is still allowed there. In speaking of human rights, he said: “I think in the first place of the right to life, of the need to guarantee that right always, including for those being punished, whose lives should not be taken.”

The Pope also spoke against warfare, saying that “the worst side of man emerges,” and called for an end to “the rationale of weapons.” He lamented both the high rate of unemployment and the dangers to the environment caused, he said, by unchecked economic ambitions.

On November 4, Pope Francis is due to attend the final session of the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue, and to meet with the Muslim Council of Elders. He made inter-religious dialogue a theme of his remarks on the first day of his visit, saying: “May we never allow opportunities for encounter between civilizations, religions and cultures to evaporate, or the roots of our humanity to become desiccated and lifeless! “

The visit to Bahrain is the Pope’s second trip to a country on the Persian Gulf; in 2019 he traveled to nearby Abu Dhabi. There, too, he put dialogue with other faiths—particularly with Islam—at the top of his agenda, signing a Document on Human Fraternity along with the Grand Imam of the Al-Azar he Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, Sheik Ahmed al Tayeb.

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