Loading
Holy See hoping for greater religious freedom in Turkey

.- Pope Benedict XVI accepted the credentials of a new ambassador from Turkey to the Holy See on Thursday morning.  The Pontiff took advantage of the occasion to make a plea to the Turkish government to give Catholics expanded rights in the country, which, according to a parish priest in Istanbul, can be quite limited. 

"The Catholics in Turkey appreciate the freedom of worship that is guaranteed by the Constitution, and are pleased to be able to contribute to the well-being of their fellow citizens, especially through involvement in charitable activity and healthcare," said the Pontiff of the current climate within the Eurasian country.

But, the Holy Father informed Dr. Kenan Gürsoy, the new ambassador from Turkey, "the Catholic Church in Turkey is waiting for civil juridical recognition" that "would help her to enjoy full religious freedom and to make an even greater contribution to society."

To shed more light on the situation in Turkey, CNA spoke with a parish priest in Istanbul, who asked to remain anonymous given the sensitivity of the situation. 

Under current legislation, the pastor explained that "Within the church (building) we are free to do as we wish, but when we leave the church we are censured."

The priest added that Catholics are not free to build new structures for worship, and are limited to using the historic church buildings still standing from past years of greater religious freedom. 

The priest observed that the government has turned many of these churches into museums.  He referred specifically to the Cappadocia region, where hundreds of church-museums are located but in which open worship is prohibited.

"If the law is changed, we will be more at ease. Inşallah … God willing," the Turkish priest said.

In his address to the new ambassador, Pope Benedict praised certain initiatives the Republic of Turkey has taken "to make a significant contibution to the effort to bring peace and stability to the Middle East," since the country serves "as a bridge between Islam and the West." The Holy See, he said, is eager "to support further efforts to put an end to long-standing conflicts in the region."

Diplomatic relations between the two entities were first established by the late-Pope John XXIII nearly 50 years ago.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

A Look at India from Rome
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
Aug
1

Liturgical Calendar

August 1, 2014

Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:54-58

Gospel
Date
08/01/14
07/31/14
07/30/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 26: 1-9
Gospel:: Mt 13: 54-58

Saint of the Day

St. Alphonsus Liguori »

Saint
Date

Homily of the Day

Mt 13:47-53

Homily
Date
07/31/14
07/30/14
07/29/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: