Arabic makes a debut as a language of the Vatican

Pope Benedict adds Arabic as an official language as part of Vatican attempt to reach out to Christians, Muslims.

By REUTERS
October 10, 2012 14:29
1 minute read.
Pope Benedict XVI waves as he gives Urbi et Orbi

Pope Benedict XVI 311 (r). (photo credit: REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi )

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

VATICAN CITY - Arabic made its debut as one of the official languages at Pope Benedict's weekly general audiences on Wednesday as part of a Vatican attempt to reach out more to Christians and Muslims in the Middle East.

The Vatican is concerned about the exodus from the Middle East of Christians, many of whom leave because they fear for their safety. Christians now comprise five percent of the population of the region, down from 20 percent a century ago.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


According to some estimates, the current population of 12 million Christians in the Middle East could halve by 2020 if security and birth rates continue to decline.

Vatican officials said that speaking Arabic during the audiences, which are broadcast live on television and radio across the world, would send a comforting word to Christians in a region which is home to many Christian holy places.

They also hope the pope addressing Muslims directly could improve sometimes strained relations with Islam.

A priest read a summary of the pope's Italian language weekly address in Arabic for the first time, joining other briefs in French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Slovak, Czech, Polish, Hungarian and Russian during the audience in front of thousands of people in St Peter's Square.

After the address, which dealt with the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, the pope said in Arabic: "The pope prays for all people who speak Arabic. May God bless you all." The Vatican said the addition was made to show the pontiff's concern for Christians in the Middle East and to remind both Muslims and Christians to work for peace in the region.



A Vatican statement said the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics wanted to continue the spirit of his trip to Lebanon last month.

During the trip, the pope made many appeals to both Christians and Muslims to work for an end to the conflict in neighboring Syria and for peace in the entire region.

In 2006 the pope gave a speech in Regensburg which was perceived by some Muslims as an attack on Islam. The pope said he was misunderstood and later visited a mosque in Turkey and prayed with an imam.

Related Content

Supreme Court President Asher Grunis
August 28, 2014
Grapevine: September significance

By GREER FAY CASHMAN