Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pope Benedict's Pastoral Trip in Istanbul

Pope Benedict XVI is in a seminal moment of his papacy. Right now it may not seem as much, but what he says and does this week in Turkey may echo for the next 100 years towards reconciliation with our Orthodox brothers in Christ. It may also be the impetus towards changing the nature and character of Islam throughout the region because Pope Benedict XVI has changed his personal views on the entry of Turkey into the EU. How is this so? Well, part of his papal agenda is to provide for reciprocity by Muslim nations towards their non-Muslim minorities in the Middle East. The issue is one where Muslims build mosques without hindrance in the post-Christian West while non-Muslim minorities are not even allowed to build churches, much less have upkeep of their church's. If his Holiness is able to spark the change that is needed in Muslim dominated Turkey towards their Christian minorities, that may be the impetus that would catapult Turkey into the arms of the European Union. By this example this would be a watershed moment towards other Middle East countries (which whom all are Muslim dominated) of creating an atmosphere of tolerance and cooperation. These simple changes may also change the path that radical and political Islam is taking, a dark and deadly path towards nihilism. The Toney Blankely at has an excellent quote from Catholic essayist Michael D. O'Brien on Pope Benedict XVI's pastoral trip to Turkey:
"Benedict is a man of charity and of truth, and rarer still, he is a man who has integrated both within his life and teaching. In a sense he is like St. Francis of Assisi, who in 1219, during the Crusades, walked into the midst of the Saracen camp and preached for days, and eventually spoke with the Sultan of Egypt in the hope of converting him ... He was a sign of contradiction to all parties in the wars. He was unarmed. He was a presence of Christ to the major adversary of Christian civilization in those times." "So, too, Pope Benedict continues to be a sign of contradiction. He has crossed the lines of our normal categories regarding the world situation. He has made possible a dialogue with Islam. ... He is not naive about the nature of radical Islamics, and indeed his Regensburg speech has been a catalyst of clearer vision about the nature of militant Islamism -- its irrationality, its spirit of relentless hatred and contempt for human dignity. Yet we must remember that neither is the pope naive about the other beast -- the one that is killing us from within the parameters of our civilization, the secular humanism of Late Western Man."
God bless our German Shepherd. To read more of Toney Blankely's article at RealClearPolitics click here. UPDATED: Great video from the Pope's pastoral trip in Turkey. Click here.


Anonymous said...

You should read George Weigel's article in Newsweek concerning the Pope's visit to Turkey. He addresses some of the issues you touch upon here.

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