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Pope Francis

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Pope Francis

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Pope Francis

Pope to meet with most powerful European leaders on March 24

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Top 10 moments of the Pope's trip to Turkey


The Pope's three day trip to Turkey was relatively short, but intense. The Pope's call for unity between Catholics and Orthodox was a  major theme, as well as the need to engage in dialogue with Islam. 

When addressing the rise and violence of ISIS, the Pope said it is indeed lawful to stop such an unjust aggressor, These are the words he used, when addressing Turkey's president. 

"In reaffirming that it is lawful, while international law is respected, to stop an unjust aggressor, I wish to reiterate, once again, that the problem cannot be resolved solely through a military response.”

That same day, while speaking before a group of Muslim leaders, the Pope said religion should never be used as a tool for violence. 

"As religious leaders, we have the responsibility to denounce all acts against human dignity and human rights.” 

Some moments were marked not by the Pope's words, but rather by his actions. The Pope visited the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, where he prayed with the city's Grand Mufti in silence. 

A few hours later, the Pope celebrated Mass  in the city's Catholic Cathedral. In his homily, he explained that the Holy Spirit must be the force that drives Christian unity.

"The more we allow ourselves to be humbly guided by the Spirit of the Lord, the more we will overcome misunderstandings, divisions, and disagreements, becoming a credible sign of unity and peace.”

While visiting the Patriarchal Church of St. George, in Istanbul, the Pope surprised the leader of Orthodox Christians, Bartholomew I, with this request.

"As a favor, I ask you to bless me and the Church of Rome.”

The unity of the Catholic and Orthodox Church was a common theme throughout the Pope's visit. The leaders of both Churches celebrated the Feast day of St. Andrew together. 

"I want to assure each and every one of you, that to achieve the full unity we yearn for, the Catholic Church does not intend to impose any requirement.” 

Afterward, both religious leaders signed a joint declaration in which they firmly condemned the violence that's ravaged parts of the Middle East.

A violence that has forced more than a million people to flee to Turkey from countries like Syria and Iraq. In fact, the Pope made it a point to personally meet with them. 

"I've longed for this meeting with all of you. I also wanted to visit other refugees but it wasn't possible.”

On his way back to Rome, the Pope held a press conference, on the papal plane, for 45 minutes. There he explained how Muslim leaders can put an end to Islamophobia in the West. 

"I told Turkey's President that it would be good for all Islamic leaders, whether political, religious or academic leaders, to speak clearly and condemn the attacks. This will help the majority of Muslim people to say 'No.' It needs to come directly from leaders.”

One of the issues that has divided the Orthodox and Catholic Church is the so called 'Papal Primacy' which the Orthodox Church rejects. 

"The primacy. We must continue with the request made by John Paul II, when he said, help me find a type of primacy that you can accept. That's all I can tell you.” 

This is the Pope's sixth apostolic trip.  He's also the fourth Pope to visit Turkey. Paul VI, John Paul II and also Benedict XVI visited the country during their papacy. 

Up: KLH