YET MORE POPE BLOGGING. I know, I know. I just can’t leave it alone.
That being said, one of the things about the new Pope is that he opposes the admission of Turkey into the European Union. The Turks are not happy about this.
One of the reasons is that Turkey, although officially a secular, European country, is full of people who think it is an Muslim country.
The other reason is historical, like everything else in Europe. This year is the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, when 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks. Almost all of those Armenians were Catholic. In fact, Armenia claims to be the first officially Catholic country. Certainly, Armenians remember this. You can bet the Catholic hierarchy does, too.
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that Turkey will not even admit the genocide happened. On top of that, you have religious persecution in Turkey today of non-Muslims, and it makes everyone afraid the past is coming around again. Our own State Department reports that Greek and Armenian Christian communities in Turkey have had their church properties confiscated by Turkish authorities. This is not uncommon in Muslim countries, but most Muslim countries aren’t trying to get into the E. U.
Turkey has to decide what it wants to be. It could be the modern, secular nation that is part of Europe. That is what its government leaders envision. Alternatively, it could be the next Muslim state that is a theocracy, enforcing Muslim law, and persecuting everyone who is a non-Muslim. I’m afraid that is what a lot of Turks envision.
Where is the Pope in all this? He is a guy even the secular European nations have to consider and respect, for his opinion carries weight with lots of Catholics in Europe.