“The Pope told the world from Ankara that Islam was a religion of peace,” but the death of the priest John Andrea Santoro suggests otherwise. As did the helicopters and metal detectors. From the Guardian, with thanks to PRCS:
Pope Benedict XVI today honoured the memory of a Roman Catholic priest who was killed after the publication of the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.
At a small open-air mass in Ephesus next to the ruins of a house where the Virgin Mary is thought to have spent her last years, the Pope praised the priest to 250 invited guests.
He said: “Let us sing joyfully, even when we’re tested by difficulties and dangers, as we have learned from the fine witness given by the Roman priest John Andrea Santoro, whom I am pleased to recall in this celebration.”
A Turkish teenager shot the priest as he knelt in prayer in his church in the Black Sea port of Trabzon. The February attack occurred amid widespread Muslim anger over the cartoons. Two other Catholic priests were attacked in Turkey this year….
A paramilitary helicopter hovered low over the crowd as he arrived in a fleet of vehicles, and registered guests went through three separate metal detectors before reaching the sacred site.
On the first day of his trip, Benedict yesterday urged religious leaders of all faiths to “utterly refuse” to support any form of violence in the name of faith.
He also called for an “authentic dialogue” between Christians and Muslims based on “mutual esteem and respect.
But there was no apology for his remarks in September when he quoted a Byzantine emperor, who described Islam as “evil and inhuman.”
The comments sparked outrage in the Muslim world and some Turks have demonstrated against the Pope’s visit.
But the pontiff’s bridge-building exercise, which included his backing for Turkey’s membership of the EU, has gone down well so far with Turkish commentators.
“It started beautifully: the Pope told the world from Ankara that Islam was a religion of peace,” the mainstream Hurriyet newspaper said.