Here is the Vatican News Services' account of Pope Benedict XVI's first day in Turkey:
BENEDICT XVI: "MY TRIP IS NOT POLITICAL BUT PASTORAL"
VATICAN CITY, NOV 28, 2006 (VIS) - At 9.20 a.m. today, the Holy Father departed from Rome's Fiumicino airport bound for Turkey, where he landed three hours later at Ankara's Esemboga airport. Thus began Benedict XVI's fifth apostolic trip outside Italy.
Speaking to the journalists accompanying him on his flight, the Pope affirmed that his visit to Turkey "is not political but pastoral," and that its aim is "dialogue and the shared commitment to peace."
As he descended from his aircraft, the Holy Father was greeted by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister of Turkey, by the governor of the local region, and by the military commander and the mayor of Ankara, the capital of Turkey, a city of some five million inhabitants. Also there to greet him was Archbishop Ruggero Franceschini O.F.M. Cap., of Izmir, president of the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Turkey.
The Holy Father then went to a room within the airport building where he held a meeting with the prime minister.
Following this meeting, which lasted 20 minutes, the Pope travelled by car to the Mausoleum of Ataturk some 45 kilometers from the city. Built between 1944 and 1953, it holds the earthly remains of Mustafa Kemal "Ataturk" (Father of the Turks), founder and first president of the Turkish Republic (1923-1938). Within the building, which resembles a Greek temple and is reached by a flight of steps, the walls are covered in green marble and the ceiling decorated with gold mosaics. The cenotaph to Ataturk is made from a single block of marble weighing 40 tonnes.
At 3 p.m. local time (2 p.m. in Rome), Benedict XVI was received by Ahmet Necdet Sezer, president of the Republic of Turkey, in the presidential palace. Subsequently he met with one of the country's two vice prime ministers in the "Guest House" of the presidential palace.
This afternoon, the Pope is scheduled to meet with Ali Bardokoglu, Turkey's president for religious affairs, in the "Diyanet," the headquarters of his department.
Turkey has 72 million inhabitants, of whom 99.8 percent are Muslims. The remaining 0.20 percent is made up of Christians of various rites (Greek-Orthodox, Syro-Orthodox, Armenian-Orthodox, Protestants and Catholics) and Jews.
Catholics number some 32,000, about 0.04 percent of the total population. The Catholic Episcopal Conference of Turkey is made up of six bishops. Currently, there are 47 parishes, 68 priests, 98 male and female religious, four permanent deacons, five major seminarians and 28 catechists.
Keep the Holy Father in your prayers during his trip.
A meeting with his Holiness pope Benedict XVI culminated with the signing of a joint “Catholic-Anglican Declaration”
The text of it is as follows:
“Mindful of our forty years of dialogue, and of the witness of the holy men and women common to our traditions, including Mary the Theotókos, Saints Peter and Paul, Benedict, Gregory the Great, and Augustine of Canterbury, we pledge ourselves to more fervent prayer and a more dedicated endeavour to welcome and live by that truth into which the Spirit of the Lord wishes to lead his disciples.”
Every time I think that BXVI is as “Solid as Gibraltar” something like this happens.
In other times, when Gibraltar himself was Pope, Anglicans got a far different reception in Rome. You may have heard the story that one day Blessed Pope Pius IX was walking around the Vatican Gardens and was approached by some English tourists. This in a day when security at the Vatican was far laxer. The tour group was led by a leading Anglican cleric who asked the Pope for a blessing. Pius IX was in a quandry, as the whole question of the validity of Anglican orders had yet to be disposed of. Raising his hands he blessed the Anglican tourists using the following words:“Abillo benedicaris, in cujus honore cremaberis. Amen.”
Many in the English group were aghast as they too understood Latin. His Holiness had chosen for his blessing the words used at the high mass to bless incense – “Be thou blessed by Him in Whose honour thou shalt be burned. - Amen.”
Pius IX’s formal opinion of the Anglicans is not known. We can infer from his blessing that it was not as ecumenical as that of BXVI. Whatever the case, the question of Anglican orders, and hence Anglican “sacraments,” was definitively settled by Pius IX’s successor Pope Leo XIII in his bull “On the Nullity of Anglican Orders,” promulgated September 18, 1896.
While I can understand the vigorous pursual of ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox, with whom we have so very very much in common. With the Anglicans this is NOT the case. If Leo XIII issued this decision in 1896, think of what he would say today?
The Wall Street Journal ran an article yesterday on Pope Benedict XVI, entitled:
A Tumultuous World Tests a Rigid Pope Inside the Vatican, Benedict’s intellect and style intimidate. How will they play outside the Church? Confronting Muslim Anger
It's a textbook MSM article on the Catholic Church: baffled reporters writing about a 2,000-year-old Church's fealty to the faith and doctrine, and how after those two millenia it continues to produce popes who adhere to the quaint notion that the truth is what it is, regardless of what we want it to be.
Amy Welborn did an excellent analysis of this second Halloween Mass here: Boo
Amy caught something I hadn't:
At first I thought the priest's costume was some sort of medieval clerical robe tossed over his vestments. The musicians seemed to be doing a Renaissance thing, so it seemed logical. But in reading the comments at Gerald's and studying the photos, I saw...no. The red cape and hood are a devil costume! Which, apparently, during the homily, the priest turns inside out to reveal a white cape - an angel. It appears from the one slide of the rest of Mass, he ditches the costume for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Well.
I suppose a priest dressed as a devil at Mass may top even Fr. Fred. Who thought that was possible?
Patriarch cautions Turks against violent protests during Pope’s visit.
Istanbul, Nov. 20, 2006 (CNA)
"The spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians cautioned Turks, in an interview published in Sunday’s Sabah newspaper, against creating potential "unpleasant incidents" during Pope Benedict XVI's trip to Turkey next week.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I said the Pope's trip, scheduled for Nov. 28-Dec. 1, was a great opportunity for the country, and one that should not be disrupted by violent protest.
He warned that if protests turn violent, they could cause problems for Turkey in its efforts to join the European Union.
"The Pope has a say in all Catholic countries," Bartholomew reportedly told Sabah. "If there are psychologically unpleasant incidents, then this would be an issue in Brussels in December. Even if not at the official level, they would talk about it between themselves."
Bartholomew, however, said he would tell the pontiff that "it is not wrong for Turkey to become a member of the EU as a Muslim country because it would bring mutual richness."
"The EU should not remain as a Christian club," the newspaper quoted Bartholomew as saying."
Would that the EU were a Christian club!
The days of Europe, specifically western Europe, defending Christendom are sadly over.
Fr. Fred Bailey, the pastor of Corpus Christi "Catholic-Christian Community" in Aliso Viejo (in the Diocese of Orange) has apologized to Bishop Tod Brown for the Halloween Masses he encouraged at his parish. (Here is some alternate footage: Catholic Halloween Mass)
Below is the complete text of his highly nuanced and carefully qualified apology:
November 8, 2006
Dear Bishop Brown:
Since 1998, when we first began celebrating liturgies here in Aliso Viejo, a particular dynamic has always been the youthfulness of our community with an obvious abundance of children. With this in mind, many of our programs have been developed to be of service to them and it was in this spirit that we began inviting children to wear their Halloween costumes to the Masses on the weekend prior to Halloween. Many parents inquired if they too could wear costumes so as to make it a family event, and thus, a Halloween tradition of having parishioners in costume at Mass was born. Based on our Catholic-Christian grounding of faith in Jesus Christ, we know that the assorted costumes of Halloween are a manner of poking fun and holding up to the light of Christ’s Resurrection the things that may have
once frightened us.
I am aware that my enthusiasm for our family celebration of Halloween has caused me to neglect my pastoral duties of providing appropriate direction and instruction to our people regarding appropriate/inappropriate costumes. Prior to the weekend of October 28-29 I failed to adequately instruct our assorted liturgical ministers as to what might be appropriate apparel for their ministry. Because of this oversight on my part, we had some lay ministers of communion attired in devil horns and assorted other costumes that, in hindsight, I could easily have prevented if I had been more attentive to my pastoral duties. Bishop Brown, I stress to you the goodness and faith-filled integrity of the ministers who were so attired, they are some of our most involved and faithful members. They accepted me at my word in regards to their costume making fun of fearful things, and would be mortified to think that they gave offense to people of good faith. The lay ministers are innocent of any wrongdoing, the offense is mine and I take full responsibility.
I realize that my pastoral neglect and lack of prudent judgment has caused great concern and offense to many in the Church. I have given my life as a priest to the Church of the Diocese of Orange and it causes me great pain to realize that my lapse in judgment could so easily transform a wonderful family tradition into something questionable and repugnant to people of good faith. From my heart I apologize to you and to the larger community of the faithful for my pastoral neglect.
I await your counsel and assistance in determining an appropriate manner of making amends for this matter.
Note that Fr. Fred does not admit that wearing Halloween costumes at a special Halloween centered Mass is not appropriate for adults or children. Note that Fr. Fred does not apologize for bragging about having an extraordinary minister dressed as a devil and saying that there is nothing wrong with this, even having gone so far as to boast: "Now there's a switch! Only at Corpus Christi does the devil himself become a Eucharistic minister! You knew we were twisted!" In his apology, Fr. Bailey claims that the inappropriate costumes were merely an oversight. If having a woman dressed as a demon while distrubuting the Blessed Sacrament (while Fr. Fred sat down and sang "open my eyes, Lord...help me to see" – which is more than a little ironic) was only an embarrassing oversight, why did he highlight it as an example of how delightfully twisted folks are at Corpus Christi "Catholic-Christian Community" during the next Mass?
What's this business about "people of good faith"? Does anyone else think this is a subtle way of saying that some of those who did not approve of the Halloween Mass are not "people of good faith"?
Fr. Fred also describes an earlier Halloween Mass (and demonstrates his theological perspective and homiletic style) here: "It's Just A Pumpkin," Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, January 2001
In that posting Elizabeth Shiltz writes about the ever increasing calls for legalized infanticide. Not abortion per se, but the actual legal killing of children after birth.
In her post she references a "spot-on" article Respectable Baby Killing, by Wesley J. Smith at National Review On-Line. (www.nationalreview.com)
Here's a chilling quote from this article:
"...Dutch physicians who have admitted to having euthanized 15-20 disabled infants. The NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine) provided them with a respectable forum in which to propose formal regulations to govern what amounts to eugenic infanticide. The so-called "Groningen Protocol" (named after the Dutch hospital where the infanticides took place) posits three categories of killable infants: babies "with no chance of survival"; infants with a "poor prognosis and [who] are dependent on intensive care"; and "infants with a hopeless prognosis," including those "not depending on intensive medical treatment but for whom a very poor quality of life…is predicted."
I can remember as an undergraduate at UCLA, in a particular modern European history class, being amazed at the cool rationality with which the Nazis planned the Jewish Holocaust. The professor was going over something called the Wannsee Conference at which all the basic structure(s) for killing millions of undesirables was outlined. They came up witrh something called the Wannsee Protocol.