Europe: Cardinal Ratzinger opposed to Turkey’s entry into European Union

Source: FSSPX News


It is already known that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is opposed to the entry of Turkey into the European Union, as was reported in Le Figaro this summer. During an ecclesiastical congress in Velletri, he explained for the first time in detail his position, which he described as “personal.”

His views, reported in the Ticino daily Giornale del Popolo of September 20, had not been given during a conference, but in the course of a series of exchanges between the participants of the Velletri Congress, concerning the basic content of the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Europa. They discussed the proclamation of the Gospel, the political commitment of Christians, the secularism of the State, including “dogmatic and intolerant” secularism, and the Christian roots. It was in this context that the journalist from Giornale del Popolo put a question to the cardinal on the compatibility of Turkey with the European Union.

The Roman prelate claimed to be speaking “as a modest historian, who has always retained a love for, and an interest in this subject.” Firstly, he made it clear that Europe was not a concept which was geographical, but cultural, formed over a long period of history and conflict, marked by the Christian faith. It is a fact, said the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, that the Ottoman Empire has always been opposed to Europe.

“If Kamal Ataturk in the twenties constructed a secular Turkey, the nucleus of the ancient Empire is the Islamic foundation. It is therefore, very distinct from Europe, which is a group of secular states, but with Christian roots. Even if today, it seems, without any justification, to be denied,” said the cardinal. “It would be antihistoric” to accept the entry of Turkey into the European Union. It would go against the European soul and against reality. A “major error,” he said, for the sake of economic reasons. But what sort of Europe would we have, which was built solely on economics?” he asked.

Pursuing this line, the cardinal said that “Turkey, which must be respected in its cultural identity,” would have, according to him, another mission to accomplish”: that of a “cultural bridge” between Europe and the Arab world. Better still, he added: “Turkey should form a cultural continent” with the Arab countries, but “the time is not favorable, because of existing tensions.”

For its part, the Conference of European Churches (KEK) which includes nearly all the Anglican, Orthodox and Protestant Churches of Europe, is of the opinion that Turkey’s entry into the European Union could make a positive contribution to the development of relations between religions and Christian and Islamic culture. In a declaration reported by the ecumenical agency ENI at the beginning of October, the KEK affirmed that “the commitment of civil society and the citizens of Europe is of crucial importance, for the success of the negotiations on the membership of Turkey to the EU.” The organization also assures us that “the European Churches are ready to play their part in this debate.”