.- This morning the Vatican released a schedule for Pope Benedict XVI's trip to Turkey. Thus making official rumors that the Pontiff would continue his trip despite threats from the Muslim world. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone had confirmed the trip on Italian national television last week, saying also that the Pope will continue to “give new momentum” to improving the dialogue between cultures and religions.
The new secretary of state told Rai Due’s Sulla Via di Damasco television program that there was no reason to call it off. In fact, Bertone added, the Pope's trip “will also be a chance for dialogue and meetings with important religious and political figures.”
Previously, some Muslim groups had warned that the Pope should call off his trip to the Muslim European state in view of his the comments he made during his trip to Germany in September. During a speech at the University of Regensburg, the Pope cited a 14th-century Christian emperor who had said Islam was “violent and inhuman.”
According to AGI, Cardinal Bertone said the speech was “a great appeal to bring God back to the center of thought, of personal and social life, and an appeal to collaboration between Christianity and Islam to share and aim at common moral goals … such as the protection of the value of life and the protection of moral values.”
"Catholics and Muslims can and must discuss topics which concern everyone and which are essential for the fate and future of humanity," the cardinal offered.
The Pope wishes to “give new momentum” to inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, Bertone said, and the Pope’s speech was the pontiff’s “the only chance to trigger a more profound reflection, namely on the relationship between the major religions of the world and human reason."
The Pope’s trip to Turkey will be “a new leg in this dialogue process, featuring Pope Benedict XVI himself as one of the main actors,” he stated.