A Question of Freedom; When Benedict XVI Goes to Turkey, the Media Talk Will Be of Islam, but the Pope's Visit Could Advance Religious Liberty for Orthodox Christians

Newsweek, December 4, 2006 | Go to article overview

A Question of Freedom; When Benedict XVI Goes to Turkey, the Media Talk Will Be of Islam, but the Pope's Visit Could Advance Religious Liberty for Orthodox Christians


Byline: George Weigel (Weigel is senior fellow at Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center and the author, most recently, of "God's Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church.")

Rome and Constantinople formally parted ways via mutual excommunications in 1054, after centuries of controversy in which geography and language played perhaps as large a role as controverted questions of theology and liturgical practice. However we understand the reasons for the split between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, those mutual excommunications opened up a religious and psychological fault line that would have profound historical consequences throughout the second millennium of Christian history. Ever since the historic 1964 meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, Catholic theologians and Orthodox scholars have worked to close the breach formalized almost a thousand years ago so that the church could once again "breathe with both lungs," as the late Pope John Paul II liked to put it. So when Pope Benedict XVI, successor of the apostle Peter, goes to Istanbul on Nov. 28 to meet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, successor of the apostle Andrew, the pontiff's primary concerns will be ecumenical: how might he and Bartholomew (who did some of his doctoral work in Rome) advance the dialogue between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, so that Peter and Andrew and the churches they embody might, one day, find themselves again in full communion with each other?

In the days when the world knew him as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI expressed reservations about Turkey's accession to the European Union, which he believed would mark the end of the EU as the political expression of a common culture. Instead, Ratzinger suggested, Turkey should be associated with the European Union in such a way that it would enjoy the economic benefits of EU membership without becoming a member, with full voice and vote, of the EU's political deliberations. Perhaps Ratzinger has reconsidered his position as pope; but in any case, his questions about Turkey's EU ambitions, plus his September lecture in Regensburg, Germany, in which he raised hard questions about the ways in which certain Islamic conceptions of God led to lethal worldly consequences, have conspired, in the global media's mind, to cast Pope Benedict's impending visit to Turkey in a light that both he and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew dislike: as far as most of the world is concerned, the pope is going to Islamic Turkey, not to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the real issue being engaged in Istanbul from Nov. 28 through Dec. 1 involves Catholicism and Islam, not Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Given the ecumenical priorities that both pope and patriarch assign to this historic encounter, however, it is very unlikely that the papal pilgrimage will see Regensburg II, a major statement from Benedict XVI on Christianity and Islam. That is not because the pope is retreating from what he said at Regensburg; it is because this pilgrimage has a different purpose.

There is, however, a link between what Benedict XVI thinks he's doing during his Turkish pilgrimage and the world's expectations of another episode in the confrontation between the West and Islam. That link involves the dramatic restrictions under which Patriarch Bartholomew and the Ecumenical Patriarchate must operate, thanks to the obstacles put in the patriarchate's path by the Turkish government--restrictions that raise serious questions about Turkey's ability to meet EU human-rights standards. Should the papal visit to the Phanar (sometimes referred to as the "Orthodox Vatican," much to the aggravation of the Orthodox) focus world attention on the gaps in Turkey's practice of religious freedom, the situation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate might be improved--and so, in consequence, would Turkey's chances of a closer relationship to the EU.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Question of Freedom; When Benedict XVI Goes to Turkey, the Media Talk Will Be of Islam, but the Pope's Visit Could Advance Religious Liberty for Orthodox Christians
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.