Unconfirmed Sources Report the Papal visit to Turkey is an unprecedented success. Christians and Muslims alike gathered along the Popes parade route to cheer the Vatican leader. The Vatican feared Pope Benedict’s indiscreet remarks about Islam would put the Pope in danger while visiting Turkey, a predominately Muslim nation.
Pope Benedict began his pilgrimage but meeting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and accompanied him to a Mosque for the traditional noonday prayers. After the visit to the Mosque the Pope tended to his own flock by visiting a small church behind the Cafe that served his lunch.
Turkey’s tiny Christian communities are thrilled to play host to Pope Benedict. “We feel truly blessed!” Exclaimed one of the faithful visited by the Pope. The Pope is scheduled to meet with each of the 352 Christians in Turkey. Benedict has declared a “fundamental” commitment to try to heal rifts between the two ancient branches of Christianity, which split nearly 1,000 years ago over disputes including papal authority. The Popes critics are also hoping that Benedict will try to heal the rifts between Islam and Christianity.
On Wednesday morning, the Pope left behind the sprawling Turkish capital Ankara for the ruins of a small stone home at the end of a dirt road near the Aegean Sea coast — the site where the Virgin Mary is thought to have spent her last years.
After his Second Day in Turkey the Pope stated “I’m loving this country, especially the food.” Long time Pope watchers are thrilled that Pope Benedict has shaken off his image as a dogmatic religious technocrat. “He’s no John Paul but we’re not expecting the Pope to go dancing either.