The 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Jordan and the Vatican

Submitted by munir on Thu, 03/14/2024 - 14:02

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan commemorates nowadays the 30th anniversary of the establishment of official diplomatic relations with the Vatican City, or rather the Holy See. In March 1994, during the reign of the late King Hussein Ibn Talal, the document establishing diplomatic relations between the two friendly sides was ratified, although the mutual relations have all the time been good and were referred to as relations based on affection, friendship, and cooperation.


At that time, it included a declaration document from the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Minister of Foreign Affairs at that time was Mr. Talal Sat'an Al-Hassan. During the government of Abdul Salam Majali, the announcement was made in both the Jordanian Official Gazette and the Vatican’s mouthpiece newspaper, Osservatore Romao, which stated at the time that “the Holy See and Jordan have concluded diplomatic relations and that this will contribute to strengthening the ties of friendship and respect that already exist between the two sides."


With its  30th anniversary, we say that these relations have developed rapidly and have been consolidated through the mutual visits undertaken by His Majesty King Hussein, may his soul rest in peace, and afterwards His Majesty King Abdullah II who visited the Vatican during the era of the three Popes, who in turn also visited Jordan. King Hussein visited the Vatican five times. As for His Majesty King Abdullah II, he has so far visited the Vatican six times. We do not forget that 60 years ago, Pope Paul VI visited Jordan, then Pope John Paul II in 2000, Pope Benedict XVI in 2014, and Pope Francis marks this year marks the 10th anniversary of the visit which took place in 2014.


There is a peculiarity between countries and the Holy See, as there is no military cooperation. There is rather spiritual cooperation in the first place through promoting Islamic-Christian encounter and dialogue, given the religious weight that both sides represent. The Vatican, represented by the head of state His Holiness the Pope, who is today the 265th successor to Saint Peter, represents a spiritual administration for more than 1.4 billion believers in the world, and its church is called the Catholic Church. Furthermore his moral voice and educational value reach far beyond the borders of the Catholic Church to include the entire humanity.


As for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with the influence of its historical and religious kings, it is today a state whose religion is Islam, yet it reflects the ancient Christian and Muslim eras and it is part of the Christian Holy Land. Therefore, any Pontiff who visited Jordan would say that it was a “pilgrimage to the holy places.” The visits start in Jordan and then proceeds to Palestine. One of the fruits of the good relations between Jordan and the Vatican is the encouragement of Christian pilgrimages by millions of Catholics around the world to the holy places in Jordan.


This cooperation, in the second place is humanitarian in the sense of calling for justice and peace, especially in the convergence of the values that Jordan and the Vatican call for, and it is also cooperation for the sake of refugees. Pope Francis has repeatedly praised the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s policy with regards to hospitality and openness in hosting refugees, especially from Syria and Iraq. Several joint initiatives and conferences were held by the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue in the Holy See and a number of official Jordanian institutions, the most important of which are the Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought and the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies. This cooperation takes place through the Apostolic Nunciature in Jordan, which has been present since 1994. However, the apostolic nuncio used to be residing in Iraq, and coming to Jordan. Yet, last year a Vatican resident nuncio was named in Jordan, which is according to international diplomacy is termed as development in relations.


Nowadays Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, who serves as Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations, visits the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He comes at a time when the aggression against Gaza is still ongoing, and there are humanitarian needs for the afflicted Palestinian people. Thus, we are confident that this visit will confirm the common Jordanian and Vatican constants, namely the call for the attainment of immediate ceasefire, delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need, as well as the call for a radical solution to the Palestinian issue by establishing two states, and considering East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine, while emphasizing the importance of the Hashemite role in protecting the holy places in Palestine. 

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Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader