Msgr Felix Machado is the archbishop of Vasai and president of the Office for Ecumenism and Interfaith Affairs of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. For him, “It is not just where Catholics are that the Church must go.” The papal visit is not a waste of time. He was in Abu Dhabi from 3 to 5 February along with the pontiff for an international interfaith meeting called Human Brotherhood. This will be the first visit by a Pope to the Arabian Peninsula. The archbishop’s comments follow.
The visit of the Pope to UAE is very important. There are conservative and politicized voices which criticize Pope’s visit, saying that it is a waste of time to invest Pope’s efforts on a visit to a place where there is no native Catholic. It is not just where Catholics are that the Church must go. We must go to such places where there are no Catholics, precisely to explore the possibilities for the future.