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Pope’s visit to Turkey is primarily ecumenical, says Cardinal Poupard

.- The President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Cardinal Paul Poupard, said this week in Assisi that the primary purpose of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Turkey is “ecumenical,” as one of the most important moments of the trip will be his meeting with the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.

The French cardinal explained that it was understandable that in visiting a country with a majority Muslim population many would think the theme of inter-religious dialogue to be paramount, but that Christian unity has always been the primary focus of the trip.

Cardinal Poupard said the trip to Turkey is one that the Holy Father had wanted to take last year. “The Pope would have liked to have gone to Turkey last year but because of certain circumstances it had to be postponed until this year,” he said.

The Pope will be in Turkey from November 28 to December 1.

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