Friday, December 21, 2007

Do they really think the Turks will allow it?

Melancholicus rather doubts it. But who knows? Stranger things have happened. And pigs might yet fly.

From Catholic World News:

German Church leaders ask Turkey to build church in Tarsus

Berlin, Dec. 20, 2007 ( - German Catholic leaders, supported by their country's government, have petitioned the government of Turkey to allow the construction of a church in Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul.

In an interview with the magazine Cicero, Cardinal Karl Lehman, the president of the German bishops' conference, mentioned the appeal. He disclosed that Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne had introduced the petition to Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan, with support from the Christian Democratic Union.

Cardinal Lehmann told Cicero that Islamic countries should be pressed to allow greater religious freedom for their Christian minorities. "While it's possible to build a mosque taller than St. Peter's in Rome," he pointed out, "I'd be arrested for celebrating Holy Mass in Saudi Arabia."

Well, the Turks ought to accede to the wishes of the German bishops, even if only for decency’s sake; after all, Germany has provided a welcome and a fertile job market to several generations of Turkish gästarbeiters.

If, on the other hand, the Turks refuse to allow the proposed church to be built — which is not unlikely, given the pattern of difficulties endured by Christians in that country — that at least would constitute further evidence of endemic religious intolerance in Turkey and might provide political ammunition to those who oppose allowing this rogue nation to join the European Union.

Keeping Turkey out of Europe is more important than building a church in Tarsus.

The most noteworthy aspect of this story is that the president of the German bishops’ conference, his eminence Karl Cardinal Lehmann, seems to have finally taken his head out of his ass broken through the fog of ecumaniacal and politically-correct nonsense for which he is well known, and at long last to have admitted the reality that Christians really aren’t treated all that well in Muslim countries. His observation that whereas it is possible to build a mosque in Rome taller than St. Peter’s basilica while in Saudi Arabia he would be arrested for the egregious crime of offering Mass, cuts right to the heart of the matter, and it is refreshing to hear such unexpected realism from someone like Lehmann.

Maybe the penny is starting to drop after all.

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