28 novembre 2006

The pope arrives in Turkey

Turkish Protests Seem to Boomerang
Says Bishop Padovese, Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia

ANKARA, Turkey, NOV. 27, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Sunday's protests in Turkey against Benedict XVI have had a "boomerang" effect, increasing the public's interest in the upcoming papal visit, says Bishop Luigi Padovese, apostolic vicar of Anatolia.

"All the preparations for the meeting with the Holy Father have ended," the bishop told ZENIT today. "Sunday's demonstrations in Istanbul and Bursa have had a boomerang effect for those who sought a mass protest.

"They have served, on the contrary, to attract greater interest in public opinion for the Holy Father's visit and at the same time have confirmed the common sense of the people of the street above the hybrid and not-sizable coalition of nationalist and Islamic protesters."

According to Bishop Padovese, "It is significant that all the most important national newspapers that have reported the demonstration also referred to the words the Pope uttered on Sunday during the Angelus." In that address, the Pope expressed his esteem and affection for the Turkish people.

The apostolic vicar confirmed the change of politicians' position, who are now more open to the visit.

"This change has helped to calm the tensions of past weeks," the prelate said. "It is seen clearly that the eyes of the world are now focused on Turkey and it is a unique opportunity to show the country's democratic and civil face.

"Now all we can do is pray that all goes well. From the testimonies I have received, I believe it is the first time that there is so much prayer for a trip of the Pope."

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