Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Benedict XVI to Turkey
Significance of the trip
As the world knows, Pope Benedict XVI recently gave a speech at the University of
Regensburg, where he quoted a Byzantine emperor who spoke negatively about the Islamic
religion. This caused extreme outrage in the Muslim community and eventually caused Pope
Benedict XVI to announce publicly, that he did not share the same views. Coincidently, an
apostolic journey to Turkey, a predominantly Muslim nation, was planned before the time of the
speech. This journey can be used as an effort by Pope Benedict XVI to quiet any negative
connotations associated with him in the Muslim community.
However, this was not the sole purpose of Pope Benedict XVI’s journey to Turkey as it
was planned well before he even gave his speech at the University of Regensburg. Turkey has a
long tradition and significance to both the Catholic Church as well as all Christian churches
around the globe. “It was there that the Christian community, particularly in the great centres of
Antioch and Ephesus, became conscious of her identity and consolidated her growth.”
means that the Christian religion can trace its beginning to Turkey and that it is a very important
place for all Christians.
The journey to Turkey takes on three major forms for the Pope. “It is a pastoral journey,
an ecumenical journey and a journey of dialogue with the Islamic world.”
Pope Benedict XVI
will be attempting to accomplish three separate goals while he is visiting Turkey. He met with
members of the Catholic faithful of Turkey, which would encompass the pastoral journey. “In
our own times, which have seen the rise and spread of forms of religious intolerance, Pope
Benedict XVI, through the preaching of the word and the celebration of the sacraments, comes to
confirm the Catholic community of Turkey in hope and in fidelity to Christ.”
Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Benedict XVI to Turkey, “Presentation,”
, December 3, 2006, 1.
Apostolic Journey to Turkey, “Presentation,” 2.