Turkish Govt invite for Pope

The government of Turkey has invited Pope Benedict XVI to visit the country in 2006, apparently ruling out a hoped-for papal visit this year.

CLICK HERECatholic News Service reports that Turkey's Foreign Ministry said yesterday that President Ahmet Necdet Sezer was inviting the pope to come to Turkey next year in order to help "strengthen dialogue between civilizations."

The Foreign Ministry said Turkey was closely following the new pope's efforts to promote interreligious dialogue and tolerance. It said the government was awaiting a response from the Vatican to its invitation.

The Vatican press office had no immediate comment on the Turkish announcement.

Only a week earlier, Vatican officials had expressed hope that the pope would be able to travel in late November of this year for a meeting with Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who invited the pope several months ago.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, who coordinates ecumenical dialogue at the Vatican, said a week ago that the pope had welcomed the Orthodox leader's invitation and hoped to make the trip on 30 November for the feast of St. Andrew.

Cardinal Kasper said at the time that the Vatican was holding talks with Turkish authorities to reach a final agreement on the visit.

The pope's visit has political overtones in Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country that has been trying to gain membership in the European Union. Turkey's bid to join the EU was scheduled to be discussed in October.

Several months before his election, Pope Benedict -- then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger -- said he thought it would be a mistake to admit Turkey to the European Union, citing historical and cultural differences. Turkish officials replied that the Vatican was extraneous to the EU membership issue.

Turkish government invites pope to visit in 2006 (Catholic News Service 15/9/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Turkish Foreign Ministry
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

Pope Turkey trip looking likely for November (CathNews 8/9/05)

Cordial meeting between the Pope and Israel's Chief Rabbis (AsiaNews.it 15/9/05)
Pope hopes new statue of St. Escriva inspires Christlike living (Catholic News Service 14/9/05)
Turkish Government invites Benedict XVI to visit country in 2006 (Catholic News Agency 15/9/05)
Chief rabbis meet pope, urge promotion of Nostra Aetate (Catholic News Agency 15/9/05)
Pope calls Catholics to mend split between faith and daily life, 'a serious error of our age' (Catholic News Agency 15/9/05)
No timetable for beatification of John Paul II, says Vatican prefect (Catholic News Agency 15/9/05)
Turkish government moves to postpone papal visit (Catholic World News 15/9/05)
Shaun Cannon: Jesus, light for the world: 2005 Social Justice Sunday Commentary (Kairos Catholic Journal 18-25/9/05)
Pope Stresses Need for God's Presence in Social Life (Zenit 14/9/05)
Benedict XVI Blesses Statue of Opus Dei Founder (Zenit 14/9/05)
Pope Encourages Exorcists in Their Ministry (Zenit 14/9/05)
Commentary on Psalm 131(132):1-10 - "God and Man Walk Together in History" (Zenit 14/9/05)

16 Sep 2005