Brain Bush’s Blog

Pope Francis's Visit to Turkey

  • By : Brian Bush
  • December 2, 2014
  • 2:45 pm

Hello Everyone,

Pope Francis made a trip to Turkey this past weekend.

The three-day visit aimed to promote religious dialogue in the country.

Pope Francis said that to counter fanaticism and fundamentalism, there must be interfaith dialogue.

The leader of the worlds 1.2 billion Catholics also renewed his call for peace in the Middle East, saying the region had “for too long been a theatre of fratricidal wars”.

In keeping to his attention to the poor and destitute, he urged more help for refugees from the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Turkey has within it's borders an estimated 1.6m refugees, mostly in its south, after Islamic State rolled it's way through Syria and Iraq in a blitzing assumption of lands to form it's self declared Caliphate.

This is the fourth visit by a pope to the 99% Muslim Turkey. Pope Benedict was the last to do so, inadvertently causing a storm over quotes from comments about Islam back in 2006.

Pope Francis sought to get Muslim leaders to “deepen the understanding and appreciation of the many things which we hold in common”.

As well as seeking to build bridges between Christianity and Islam, Francis spent significant and symbolic time with the Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch of the world's 310 million faithful.

There were mutual prayers and declarations – but the occurrence with the most impact was perhaps Pope Francis bowing into the arms of Patriarch Bartholomew, and in so doing, asking for his blessing. This, in terms of the historical Churches, was an extraordinary display of Christian unity, and courage in leadership for the two men.

But it was Pope Francis's comments condemning Islamic State that captured the headlines. Several times he referred to Christianity in the Middle East and the fact that Muslim extremism and the Islamic State are driving Christians out from their historical homes.

In Sunday morning's Mass, the pope said Islamic State was committing a “profoundly grave sin against God” and called for inter-religious dialogue and action against poverty to help end the conflicts in the region.

Brian Bush
Middle East Correspondent
LeSEA Broadcasting

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