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Benedict XVI speaking under the crescent of a Turkish flag

Benedict under the Muslim Crescent

On November 28, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI addressed ambassadors and religious leaders at the Vatican Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. He chose to have as the background setting for his speech an enormous Muslim Crescent as it appears on the Turkey flag.

It is certainly a symbolic act, far from the glorious attitudes of Blessed Pope Urban II who convened the First Crusade against the Muslims, and Pope St. Pius V, the inspirer of the Battle of Lepanto, against the powers of Turkey. Those Popes saw in the Muslim danger an attempt to dominate Europe and destroy the Catholic Religion. They understood that any legitimate means - war included - should be used against it to save the Church and Christendom. The events they inspired symbolize an irreconciable antagonism between the Cross and the Crescent.

Instead, framed by a flag displaying the Crescent, Benedict XVI called on all religious leaders to "utterly refuse to sanction recourse to violence as a legitimate expression of religion."

Ignoring the atrocities that Turkey committed against Catholics for centuries, the Pope expressed support for Turkey to be admitted to the European Union, and praised it as a bridge between the East and the West - Asia and Europe - and as a crossroads of cultures and religions.

He stated that dialogue is needed so that different religions may come to know each other better and respect one another:

"We are in great need of authentic dialogue between religions and between cultures, capable of assisting us, in a spirit of fruitful cooperation, to overcome all the tensions together."

The least we can say is that there is nothing in common with this attitude and the past militancy of the Catholic Church...

Reuters

Posted July 29, 2007

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