04 dicembre 2006

Benedict XVI Bids Fond Farewell to Turkey

I'm very happy that the Holy Father had a great trip to Turkey. I was really worried for his safety... but I suppose that the prayers of millions of Catholics did some good here. I am intrigued by this secret proposal from Patriarch Bartholomew. I do not know what it can be, but the pope liked it, and that is a good sign.

Lastly, check the second to last paragraph... Pope Benedict has a great sense of humor. His "city" is a small village. :-)

Benedict XVI Bids Fond Farewell to Turkey

"I Am Leaving Part of My Heart in Istanbul"

ISTANBUL, Turkey, DEC. 1, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI, during the farewell ceremony at the close of his historic visit to Turkey, said: "I am leaving part of my heart in Istanbul, in this magnificent city."

The Pope today addressed Muammer Guler, the governor of Istanbul province, who, on behalf of the authorities, accompanied the Holy Father to the Turkish Airlines plane for his return to Rome.

"I believe that, for the Supreme Pastor of the Catholic Church, dialogue is a duty," Benedict XVI said to the governor at the Istanbul airport. "I thank the Lord for having been able to give a sign of this dialogue and of greater understanding between religions and cultures, in particular with Islam."

The Pontiff underlined that "Turkey is a bridge between Asia and Europe."

He continued: "I want to thank each and every Turkish authority for hosting me in the best possible way. I am leaving part of my heart here in Istanbul. I hope the bonding power of this city will continue forever."

The governor of Istanbul thanked the Pope personally for "his statements on Islam, which have made us happy," removing "too many bad interpretations."

"Truly European city"

The Holy Father clarified that although he "was unable to see everything in those jewels that are the [Blue] Mosque and St. Sophia [museum], they are engraved in me forever. My gratitude to Istanbul is profound."

"It has been a serene visit, thanks also to the cooperation of the people and I hope it will remain as sign of friendship between peoples and religions," said the Bishop of Rome.

Benedict XVI added that "Istanbul is a truly European city, a bridge between the West and Asia, to bring structures and organizations closer."

On learning that in 2010 the city will be the European capital of culture, the Pope said: "It truly deserves it" and explained with a smile that "his native city had requested that recognition, but was not granted it."

Governor Guler invited the Pope to return to Istanbul, and the Holy Father replied: "I am old and I don't know how much time the Lord will give me. We put everything in his hands."

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