Skip to comments.Orthodox leader says Pope's Turkey visit will go ahead
Posted on 09/20/2006 7:33:51 AM PDT by NYer
Patriarch Bartholomeos I, the Istanbul-based Christian Orthodox leader, says he remains confident the Pope will visit Muslim-majority Turkey as planned in November despite the furore about the pontiff's speech in Germany writes Bernadette Sauvaget for Ecumenical News International.
"The Turkish people are very hospitable, but most probably national and fanatical groups will hold demonstrations against the visit," the patriarch told a group of French religious affairs journalists on 17 September 2006 who were visiting his official headquarters in Istanbul, which was once the Byzantine Christian capital of Constantinople.
"They will continue to call on the government not to welcome the Pope," said Bartholomeos, who is widely seen as the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians.
Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to arrive in Turkey at the end of November for a visit that will take him to the capital Ankara as well as Istanbul in the west. On 30 November 2006 he is due to attend a religious service with Bartholomeos, a move seen as trying to heal a split between Western and Eastern Christianity dating back almost a thousand years.
Turkey's foreign minister, Abdullah Gul signalled at the weekend that the Pope's scheduled visit would go ahead, despite the furore in many parts of the Muslim world about the speech by the Pope quoting a Christian emperor who had referred to "evil and inhuman" aspects of Islam.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan had earlier criticised the Pope's remarks. "We cannot accept these statements. The Islamic world cannot accept them," Erdogan stated. "I do not think that they can be accepted either by the Christian and Catholic world."
Some observers say that Turkey would have much to lose if Benedict was not to visit the country, which is seeking to join the European Union.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate is seen as a long-standing supporter of European Union entry for Turkey. "Our country is a bridge between the East and the West," stated the patriarch. "We do not think the European Union should be only a club limited to Christians."
Before becoming pope, Benedict had made known his opposition to Turkey joining the EU.
But, said Bartholomeos, "After his election to the throne of [Saint] Peter, I don't think he has repeated these remarks. The fact that the Pope is coming to Turkey is a sign and shows that he is not against it."
Pope Benedict has apologised for the uproar caused by his remarks in Germany saying the quotations did not represent his personal views, and Patriarch Bartholomeos said the apology should be allowed to stand.
"We have to accept the interpretation that he gave himself to his words," Bartholomeos told the journalists. "He knows best what he wanted to say. He did not want to offend Islam."
The patriarch said that one passage of a long text such as that delivered by the Pope in Germany should not be looked at in isolation. "You have to read the whole text to understand what was intended by the person who wrote or spoke it," he said.
Still, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has published a statement in which it appeared to distance itself from the Pope's remarks. "When humanity faces such dangers and when there are so many common values and opportunities for co-operation between religions and cultures ... it is essential not to offend each other and to avoid situations which could offend each other's beliefs," Bartholomeos had declared in that statement.
Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI has appealed for mutual respect between followers of different religions, in a message mourning the killing of an Italian nun in Somalia that some observers have linked to his remarks about Islam.
Benedict said he firmly deplored any form of violence, and he hoped the death of the nun would inspire "real fraternity among peoples in the mutual respect for the religious convictions of each other".
Two days earlier, gunmen had shot dead 65-year-old nun Leonella Sgorbati and her bodyguard outside a children's hospital in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
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Assuming that he does,I'd say that his decision is indicative of substantial bravery on his part.
I fear we'll see this great man's head on a pike before this vignette plays itself out...
Mehmet Ali Agca, former Pope Paul's attempted assassin has said for Pope Benedict not to go to Turkey, because someone there, Islamic Fascist Muslim Terrorist will try to kill him. He told this to an Italian newspaper this past week. I think the world can see what is going on, but why there isn't world wide outrage is more than a mystery.
The Pope of Olives & prophacy of end times.....I'm spooked enough today. I gotta go get another cup of coffee! :)
I do not doubt that there are many who would like to kill him, and perhaps even those who will try when he goes to Turkey.
If Benedict XVI survives the attempt, perhaps one might attribute it to divine intervention (which his predecessor always credited for surviving the last Turkish attempt to murder a Catholic pontiff).
If such an attempt is successful, and the Pope is martyred for his Christian faith and moral courage, it will probably change the tenor of the debate over how to fight this war.
Isn't there some Catholic prophecy thing about this being the last pope or something like that? If I recall correctly, the name he picked for himself fits with it and it says he won't be pope for a long time. Perhaps this pope believes that prophecy and expects to be killed so he is subconsciously provoking it (which kinda makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy).
This is VERY politically relevant.
There is actually a bill before the United States House of Representatives urging the creation of a vatican style state for the orthodox church and respect for freedom of religion in Turkey.
I will post the full text of it next.
There are a myriad of issues regarding respect for christianity and hopefully this will put them on the front page instead of burried in the religion section.
(ie Agia Sophia return and restoration to the church.)
From the house of representatives http://house.gov
contac Cong. Bilirakis as one of the cosponsors.
(Original Signature of Member)
2D SESSION H. RES. ll
Urging Turkey to respect the rights and religious freedoms of the Ecumenical
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mrs. MALONEY submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the
Committee on lllllllllllllll
Urging Turkey to respect the rights and religious freedoms
of the Ecumenical Patriarch.
Whereas Turkey began accession negotiations with the European
Union on October 3, 2005;
Whereas in 1993 the European Union defined the membership
criteria for accession to the European Union at the
Copenhagen European Council, obligating candidate
countries to have achieved certain levels of reform, including
stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy,
the rule of law, and human rights, and respect for and
protection of minorities;
VerDate 0ct 09 2002 12:42 Sep 01, 2006 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6300 C:\TEMP\MALONE~2.XML HOLCPC
September 1, 2006 (12:42 p.m.)
Whereas the Government of Turkey refuses to recognize the
Ecumenical Patriarchs international status; and
Whereas the Government of Turkey has limited to Turkish
nationals the candidates available to the Holy Synod for
selection as the Ecumenical Patriarch and has refused to
reopen the Theological School at Halki, thus impeding
training for the clergy: Now, therefore, be it
1 Resolved, That the House of Representatives
2 (1) calls on Turkey to continue to demonstrate
3 its willingness to adopt and uphold European stand4
ards for the protection of human rights;
5 (2) based on the ideals associated with the Eu6
ropean Union and its member states, calls on Tur7
key to eliminate all forms of discrimination, particu8
larly those based on race or religion, and imme9
10 (A) grant the Ecumenical Patriarch appro11
priate international recognition and ecclesiastic
13 (B) grant the Ecumenical Patriarchate the
14 right to train clergy of all nationalities, not just
15 Turkish nationals; and
16 (C) respect property rights and human
17 rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; and
18 (3) calls on Turkey to pledge to uphold and
19 safeguard religious and human rights without com20
VerDate 0ct 09 2002 12:42 Sep 01, 2006 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 C:\TEMP\MALONE~2.XML HOLCPC
September 1, 2006 (12:42 p.m.)
Maybe Pope Benedict should meet the Patriarch on Rhodes--pretty close to Turkey and has associations with the Crusades.
This is reckless.
I had hoped that the Pope would live to be one hundred years old.
There are 28,000 Catholics in Turkey. Here is the source . Turkey holds the slim rank of #137 in the world population of Catholics. Earlier this year, an Italian priest who asked to serve in Turkey, was shot dead by a Muslim, in cold blood, while praying before the Tabernacle of his parish church.
I wish the Pope wouldn't go. I have a bad feeling... these people don't forget, and revenge is in their hearts and minds.