Highlights from Pope Francis’ recent apostolic journey to Turkey

December 04, 2014

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Pope Francis concluded his Apostolic Journey to Turkey comprising of a three day visit from November 28th to 30th, 2014. During his visit, the Holy Father made important statements on interreligious and ecumenical dialogue. On November 30th, the Feast of Saint Andrew, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew released a joint statement highlighting the vital importance of dialogue, noting: “The grave challenges facing the world in the present situation require the solidarity of all people of good will, and so we also recognize the importance of promoting a constructive dialogue with Islam based on mutual respect and friendship.” The full joint-statement can be accessed at the following link: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/text-of-joint-declaration-signed-by-pope-and-ecumenical-patriarch

On Friday, November 28th, Pope Francis met with Turkish political leaders and visited the office of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) and delivered an address to Muslim and Christian political and religious leaders stating: “As religious leaders, we are obliged to denounce all violations against human dignity and human rights. Human life, a gift of God the Creator, possesses a sacred character. As such, any violence which seeks religious justification warrants the strongest condemnation because the Omnipotent is the God of life and peace.” The full address can be accessed at the following link: http://www.vis.va/vissolr/index.php?vi=all&dl=7b9aacc7-cafc-763e-3cf8-5479bd0d8c7c&dl_t=text/xml&dl_a=y&ul=1&ev=1

Lastly, today, December 1st, the Pope spoke with the press on his return flight to Rome highlighting the importance of spiritual ecumenism – praying, working and carrying out charitable works together. The Pope remarked that our ecumenical efforts with orthodoxy has proved fruitful thanks to our sacramental and apostolic traditions. Pope Francis echoed the challenge given by John Paul II in the encyclical Ut unum sint asking Orthodox faithful to help in articulating a form of Papal Primacy acceptable to the Orthodox Churches. The full report on the Pope’s in-flight press engagement can be viewed at the following link: http://www.vis.va/vissolr/index.php?vi=all&dl=66b49aa8-faeb-37ec-b3a3-547c7bdea64f&dl_t=text/xml&dl_a=y&ul=1&ev=1

Wishing you all a blessed first week of Advent.