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More on that Qatar Church

posted by awelborn

From AsiaNews:

Future Parish priest Fr. Tom Veneration, tells AsiaNews: “After over 20 years of making formal requests to the authorities, the government has finally granted the Christian confessions land to build their own places of worship. The Catholic community were given the largest piece of land, because our presence here goes back down the centuries and also because our community is the largest, now numbering over 100 thousand faithful”.

He adds, the Church land “was given to us by Emir Amir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who in recent years has promoted a politics of inter religious dialogue while at the same time maintaining the laws which forbid any attempts to convert the local population, for the most part Muslim, to any other religion. This really is the only great limit to our pastoral work, but we must comply”. The Church will be dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary.

Roman Catholics from all over the Arabian Peninsula – many of them migrant workers – are helping to pay for the $15m building, which is scheduled to open at the end of the year.

The priest who has been working in Doha for the past three years is originally from Manila: “Up on till now we have been gathering to pray in our homes and in the small chapels inside the American and Philippine campus in Doha.   Together with all the Catholics who live here we are really delighted at the idea that soon we will be able to celebrate mass in a true Church, sign of our presence in this land.”



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Pes

posted March 30, 2007 at 10:36 am


I wonder how much jizya was paid to get this thing off the ground.
This really is the only great limit to our pastoral work, but we must comply
Others preach in the mouth of the lion and are eaten, such as Tedase, a courageous Christian martyr in Ethiopia, slain this past Monday: Ethiopian Evangelist Beaten to Death by Militant Muslims: Militant Wahabbi Islamists Drag Christian Evangelist into Mosque and Beat Him to Death.
Rest in peace, brother. In paradisum deducant te angeli : in tuo adventu, suscipiat te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Amen.



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Chris

posted March 30, 2007 at 11:47 am


Tedase deserves to be remembered as a martyr no doubt, however evangelism can take many forms and the lived life of Christianity in Qatar can be and will be powerful in its witness. We should never judge how people sow, rather we should pray for God to continue to grow.
Just to imagine what the presence of a church in Qatar will be like is astounding. Something unthinkable even a few years ago.
Let’s not snipe, let’s praise God for his blessings, for both Tedase and the new Church.



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MissJean

posted March 30, 2007 at 11:51 am


“This really is the only great limit to our pastoral work, but we must comply.”
Translation: Here’s the official story to the press and the Muslims who read it.



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Blind Squirrel

posted March 30, 2007 at 1:38 pm


It is a nice thing to see. I know the Anglicans were allowed to open up shop there a couple of years ago, but this sort of openness is astonishingly rare in the region. Part of it is the Qatari ruling house’s ostentatious habit of putting two fingers up to their neighbours immediately to the west and south (which is also why Al Jazeera was founded). If Saudi says ‘A’ in any given situation, it’s a pretty fair bet that Qatar will automatically say ‘B.’
Doha needs more spirituality of any stripe. With the exception of the small but reasonably pretty Corniche, it’s one of the more Godforsaken cities (in all senses of the word) even by undemanding Gulf standards. The true local religion is shopping rather than Islam: in the many and lavish air-conditioned emporia, nobody so much as blinks, far less stops what they’re doing, whenever the call to prayer is broadcast.



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Eric G.

posted March 30, 2007 at 1:40 pm


“This really is the only great limit to our pastoral work, but we must comply.”
Either he’s lying to the Muslims, in which case he’s commiting a sin.
Or he really is complying with the Muslims’ orders to “deny Christ before men” and rescind from the divine mandate to evangelize; in which case he commits a greater sin.
What a disagrace this man is to his priesthood; the Church Fathers, those thousdans (millions?) who have shed their blood over the centuries must be turning over in their graves.
Hmmm . . . I wonder WHY Christianity has been decimated in Musim countries. Could it be because Catholics REFUSE to evangelize?!
(I have in mind especially the current Chaldean Catholic Patriarch, who told the Wall Street Journal that he would refuse a Muslim who came ON HIS OWN VOLITION to him and told him he wanted to become a Catholic. The Cardinal said he would turn the man away, and tell him to just be a better Muslim. His exact words . . .)



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Eric G.

posted March 30, 2007 at 1:42 pm


In short, the Church IS alive . . . she’s an animated corpse, a Mystical Zombie.



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Pes

posted March 30, 2007 at 2:06 pm


I think stating one’s prayers and support for the Church should go without saying. My focus in on the Qatari end, not the Church’s. Will they guarantee stability? They put up the money, sure, but they have pots and pots of money; will they agree not to tax the Church? Etc.
This isn’t “sniping.” This is asking legitimate questions about the necessary grunt work of religious toleration. Given the ME track record in this area, I think assertions from dignity are in order.



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Woodrow

posted March 31, 2007 at 3:51 am


I have been interceding for Qatar for years, ever since my younger, Evangelical days. Now that I’m a Catholic, I’m very excited to hear about this church and the Protestant churches there too. May The Light shine in Qatar’s darkness and illumine every nook and cranny!



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AnglicanPeggy

posted April 1, 2007 at 12:41 am


Chris,
You said,
….however evangelism can take many forms and the lived life of Christianity in Qatar can be and will be powerful in its witness.
Unfortunately, history testifies against your rather optimistic assessment. The Orthodox long ago sacrificed active evangelism in the same hope that if Christianity could only survive under islamic toleration, then the Christian example would just automatically win over the hearts and minds of muslims. They went from being a majority in many areas to statistical insignificance today as a result.
There are two main reasons for this.
One, Muslims do not have any respect for those who meekly submit to their conditions in order to be “tolerated”. To them, any group whch submits is as much as admitting that their faith is passe’ and that living by a limited form of islamic law is the better course. To not evangelize is to play along with and confirm their theology and their definition of religious toleration. A church which does not follow the apostles by paying a high price for the truth, cannot but be a museum piece or else a boutique religion only the foreigners insist on clinging to. Whatsmore, muslims are trained to be blind to any qualitative difference between the Christian life and the muslim way of life. In fact, they see Islam as more moral and therefore more authentically Christian than any actual Christian witness. They do not see Christians as moral examples. In their eyes, we are incompletely moral and inadequately devout. In their eyes, we are not as serious about morality because we do not observe as many laws as strictly as they do.
Two, in any environment where the playing field is unequal, the one at the disadvantage will not only not succeed but will also lose ground. However faithful this current group of believers may be, their descendents will inevitably be frittered away little by little to islam. They will grow up in an environment where only islam has full rights, where islam is the magnanimous tolerator possessing all the glamour of the top dog, the penultimate winner, the picture of success. They will be constantly exposed to islamic proselytization and will come to have contempt for their own faiths weakness and failure to assert itself. After all, a faith that doesnt believe in itself enough to insist on its equality can’t be much of a faith can it?
This is how it happens even now in Egypt. This is how it has happened in all lands where Christianity has all but disappeared.
I wish it were different, but I am afraid that because of human nature, this new church could well be empty after God only knows how many generations.
Someone mentioned that the Qutaris dont seem to be at all observant, but that does not mean that islamists are not operating in that country as they are everywhere else. I do not doubt that they are even now winning over muslim young people dissastified with the materialism of their society. These same will go to work on the dissatisfied youth among the Christians as well. They dont have to be terrorists to do so, and under cover of religious devotion, they surely have free reign to operate so long as they dont agitate against the ruling power.
To not actively evangelize is to go against the Great Commandment of our religion. I dont see how we could expect to be blessed for giving up this vital mission for a token presence in a muslim nation. I for one would put up with the inconvenience and continue to argue for full religious equality, including the right to evangelize before I would hand an muslim ruler such a public relations credit. He should not be able to claim credit for allowing a church until he also allow that church to be a full and complete church.
We should not EVER give the impression that evangelism is an optional component of our faith. We might as well admit that Christianity is just another option if we do.



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AnglicanPeggy

posted April 1, 2007 at 12:50 am


Chris,
You said,
….however evangelism can take many forms and the lived life of Christianity in Qatar can be and will be powerful in its witness.
Unfortunately, history testifies against your rather optimistic assessment. The Orthodox long ago sacrificed active evangelism in the same hope that if Christianity could only survive under islamic toleration, then the Christian example would just automatically win over the hearts and minds of muslims. They went from a majority in many areas to statistical insignificance today as a result.
There are two main reasons for this.
One, Muslims do not hav any respect for those who meekly submit to their conditions in order to be “tolerated”. To them, any group whch submits is as much as admitting that their faith is passe’ and that living by some form of islamic law is more sensible. To not evangelize is to play along with and confirm their theology and their definition of religious toleration. A church which does not follow the apostles by paying a high price for the truth, cannot but be a museum piece or else a boutique religion the foreigners insist on clinging to. Whatsmore, muslims are trained to be blind to any qualitative difference between the Christian life and the muslim way of life. In fact, they see Islam as more moral and more auhentically Christian than an actual Christian witness. They do not see Christians as moral examples. In their eyes, we are incompletely moral and devout. In their eyes, we are not as serious about morality because we do not observe as many laws as strictly as they do. We are in fact degraded muslims who either do not know it or else refuse to acknowledge it.
Two, in any environment where the playing field is unequal, the one at the disadvantage will not only not succeed but will also lose ground. However faithful this current group of believers may be, their descendents will inevitably be frittered away little by little to islam. They will grow up in an environment where only islam has full rights, where islam is the magnanimous tolerator possessing all the glamour of the top dog, the penultimate winner. They will be constantly exposed to islamic proselytization and will come to have contempt for their own faith’s weakness and failure to assert itself. Surely a faith that believes in itself will insist on expansion.
This is how it happens even now in Egypt. This is how it has happened in all lands where Christianity has all but disappeared.
I wish it were different, but I am afraid that because of human nature, this new church could well be empty after God only knows how many generations.
Someone mentioned that the Qutaris dont seem to be at all observant, but that does not mean that islamists are not operating in that country as they are everywhere else. I do not doubt that they are even now winning over muslim young people dissastified with the materialism of their society. These same will go to work on the dissatisfied youth among the Christians as well. They dont have to be terrorists to do so, and under cover of religious devotion, they surely have free reign to operate so long as they dont openly agitate against the status quo. Islam does not have to be political in order to win converts.
To not actively evangelize is to go against the Great Commandment of our religion. I dont see how we could expect to be blessed for giving up this vital mission for a token presence in a muslim nation. I for one would put up with the inconvenience and continue to argue for full religious equality, including the right to evangelize before I would hand an muslim ruler such a public relations credit. He should not be able to claim credit for allowing a church until he also allows that church to be a church in the fullest and most complete sense of the word.
We should not EVER give the impression that evangelism is an optional component of our faith. We might as well admit that Christianity is just another option when we do.



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