On Friday Pope Benedict XVI arrived back in Rome following a four-day visit to Turkey. His trip marked his first papal visit to a Muslim nation, and was marked by controversy that followed remarks he made in September on the link between violence and Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. Before leaving Turkey the pope celebrated Mass for the small Roman Catholic community in Istanbul and repeated his call to heal divisions among the world’s Christians. On Wednesday pope met Patriarch Bartholomew I, widely respected as “the first among equals” among Orthodox bishops. Earlier in the week, immediately upon his arrival in Turkey, the pontiff surprised the world by telling the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that the Holy See supports his country’s entry to the European Union. He also called for increased dialogue, peace and reconciliation between Christians and Muslims, and—according to Mr. Erdogan—“the most important message the Pope gave was toward Islam, he reiterated his view of Islam as peaceful and affectionate.”
December 2, 2006
Pope in Turkey: A Reluctant State Guest
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