Thursday, June 03, 2010

Cyprus Trip a Political Minefield for the Pope

Tribulation Times


June 2, 2010 

(2Ti 1:12) and therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

HEADLINE: Cyprus Trip a Political Minefield for the Pope

Pope Benedict XVI, often under fire for political missteps on foreign trips, is heading into a potential diplomatic storm when he visits Cyprus this week, a pilgrimage to a divided island that could anger Turkey and the rest of the Muslim world.

Divisions between Greeks and ethnic Turks, splits in the Orthodox Christian community, and concerns over damaged Christian and Muslim houses of worship will be come under scrutiny during Benedict's three-day trip starting Friday.

The Cyprus trip comes just days after the island's leaders — Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and the newly elected president of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots, Dervis Eroglu — resumed peace talks after a two-month pause.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the rival leaders to ensure that the reunification talks do not fall apart, warning that time is working against them.

Cyprus police say that although they are aware of possible protests by some religious groups against the pope's trip, there have been no credible threats to his safety.

"We are continuing our planning regarding the pope's safety and all necessary measures will be taken to ensure that not even the slightest incident will take place," said police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos.

Some hardline Orthodox clerics, who view the pope as a heretic, say Benedict should stay in Rome to avoid provoking the island's 800,000 Orthodox.

Benedict on Sunday said he was "making an apostolic journey to Cyprus, to meet and pray with the Catholic and Orthodox faithful there."

VATICAN RADIO: Fr Lombardi Editorial : Why Cyprus?

“Many people wonder why the Pope is going to Cyprus to meet with the Bishops of the Middle East and give them the working guidelines for the next Synod, the great ecclesial meeting scheduled for next October. The answer is quite simple. We only have to read the Acts of the Apostles, the account of the first steps in proclaiming the Gospel to the world after the Resurrection of Jesus.

Cyprus is mentioned at least six times. Barnabas comes from Cyprus, one of the first to join the community of the apostles in Jerusalem. Cyprus is the first stop – both troubled and fertile – on the first missionary journey of Paul, Barnabas and the future evangelist Mark. Barnabas returns to evangelize Cyprus when he is separated from Paul. Paul passes back and forth along the coasts of Cyprus on his travels, even on his final journey, which brings him to Malta and then to Rome.

Moreover, we only have to glance at the map to see that Cyprus is a strategic crossroads, and therefore also a cultural and spiritual one, in a region with a history that is closely connected to the Holy Land. It lay on the route of Jewish and Christian pilgrims on their way to and from Jerusalem, of travellers between East and West, between Asia and Europe. While on the one hand it surprises us that John Paul II never set foot there, it is no surprise that Benedict XVI has gladly accepted the invitation to go there, as a visitor and a pilgrim, on a journey that is an ideal continuation of his visit to Malta, travelling along the Mediterranean towards the East. It is a journey that also recalls last years fundamental voyage to the Holy Land itself.

Cyprus, therefore, invites us to look around, to pray and hope for an announcement and service of the Gospel that is a source of dialogue, of ecclesial communion, human growth and peace for all, in a region that is dear to all believers, but which is still experiencing too much suffering and division”.


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Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

50. The mother of all the vices is pleasure and guile. He who has them within him will not see the Lord; and abstinence from the first will bring but little benefit without abstinence from the second.      

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