Pope Francis presided over the only public Mass of his trip to Turkey at the Catholic cathedral of Istanbul. Diversity was present at all times. Catholics of Latin, Armenian, Syrian and Chaldean Rites attended, along with Protestant representatives and several Patriarchs, including the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.
In his homily, the Pope talked about the Holy Spirit. He explained that this Spirit inspires unity, not uniformity, and encourages Christians to avoid any kind of division.
"When we try to create diversity, but are closed within our own particular and exclusive ways of seeing things, we create division. When we try to create unity through our own human designs, we end up creating uniformity and homogenization.”
In front of several representatives of different Christian churches, the Pope stressed that all must be open to and guided by the Holy Spirit.
"We Christians become true missionary disciples, able to challenge consciences, when we put our defensive style aside and allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit.”
As a way of being open to others, the Pope called on all Christians to dialogue without fear.
"The more we allow ourselves to be humbly guided by the Spirit of the Lord, the more we will overcome misunderstandings, divisions, and disagreements and become a credible sign of unity and peace.”
At the end of the Mass, Pope Francis blessed the pilgrims gathered in the cathedral along with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. Then they greeted each other warmly.
About 600 pilgrims attended the Mass and many had to stay outside the cathedral. In Turkey, Christians roughly represent 1% of a population of 75 million people.