Rome Newsroom, Nov 29, 2022 / 06:09 am
When Father Charbel Mhanna needs to acquire altar wine for Mass, he must use a special card issued by the government of Qatar at the only venue that sells alcohol to residents of the country.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup’s stadium beer ban irked many soccer fans who traveled to the Arabian Peninsula for the international sporting event, but Qatar’s alcohol laws are just a minor restriction compared with what Catholic priests face ministering in the Muslim-majority country, where public displays of Christian religion are forbidden.
Father Mhanna has lived in Qatar for nine years. Originally from Lebanon, he ministers to Maronite Catholics living in Qatar as well as Italian and French-speaking communities at the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Doha.
In an interview in Arabic with ACI Mena, CNA’s news partner in the Middle East, Mhanna explained that there are no bells or crosses on church buildings in Qatar.