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Towards good agreements?
Requests from the Catholic Church to the General Assembly
A meeting “in a serene atmosphere, with good hopes...With patience, elapsed talks between the two parties one can see the possibility of reaching good agreements”. Commented the Episcopal Conference of Turkey (Cet) about its audition on April 16, at the “National Great Assembly in Turkey” where it presented “its problems and requests to include in the new Constitution”. As well known, “The Latin Catholic Church’s main request is a legal recognition for the Catholic Church in Turkey”. “Government representatives – the Cet note added- pointed out that this request cannot be solved by the new Constitution, but can be included in a special law”. The Catholic delegation made up of mgr. Ruggero Franceschini, President of Cet, mgr. Louis Pelâtre, Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul and Cet spokesperson Rinaldo Marmara. The June-July edition of “Presence” journal of the Turkish Church, includes abstracts from the “historical document” with the Cet requests to the Assembly. SIR Europe relates.
Glad to have the opportunity to talk… “We are glad to have the opportunity to tell the history and events of Latin Catholic Church in Turkey, at this important meeting, that will hopefully lead to a positive resolution to our problems. We are grateful to all who worked to organize this meeting, and we are especially grateful to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish ambassador at the Holy See, Kenan Gursoy, for his great dedication(..) Every five years, the bishops of the Catholic Church pay their visit to the Bishop of Rome (The Pope) to inform his Vicariate (the Diocese) and speak about their problems. The reports and talks of these meetings between the Pope and the President of the Episcopal Conference are important documents which inform us about on the Churches of each country. Until today Cet, has had four ad limina apostolorum meetings: in 1989, 1994, 2001 and 2009. In the four visits the lack of legal recognition of the Latin Catholic Church has been pointed out.
John Paul II. During the 1994 visit, Pope John Paul II in his speech at the Episcopal Conference of Turkey strongly called for a legal recognition of the Latin Catholic Church in Turkey. On Wednesday September 7, 1994, Cet met Feyz Cem Cetin the Turkish Ambassador at the Holy See. Cetin, was informed of the conversation between the Pope and Cet members, and expressed satisfaction on the content of the statements but asked for clarifications on the Pope’s request for legal recognition. “Our approach”, Cetin said- is not to benefit a community by giving her different status”, Mgr. Pelâtre replied in the following way: “we do not want any specific advantage, but we simply want to be legally recognized. As pointed out, we enjoy complete freedom of worship, within the Church, but we deem that property and financial means cannot be separated from the freedom of worship, and are necessary to cultivate it concretely”.
50 years of relations. In 2010 we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Turkey, the Latin Catholic Church cannot be separated from the Vatican State: therefore we ask for the legal recognition of the Latin Catholic Church. This legal recognition will finally solve the Church’s property in Turkey. Even if the assets belonging to the Latin Catholic Church “do not appear in the 1936 Declaration they are listed on the December 18, 1913 Treaty between Sadrazam (Minister of Foreign Affairs) of the Ottoman Empire Said Halim Pasa and France Ambassador Maurice Bompard who represented the Turkish Church. We hope the tentative article n.17 of law 5737 published on the Official Journal on August 27, 2011, n. 28038, will find solutions to the Latin Catholic Church assets seized after the Republic was established.
Requests. We conclude by presenting our requests: legal recognition of the Latin Catholic Church; return of the assets registered by the Treasury and Direction General of the Foundation when the Republic was established, and registration of these assets under the new denomination “legal status”.. The possible registration of assets which dates back to the Ottoman Empire and have been recorded on the 1913 list, under the new denomination”legal status”. Stop new seizure processes of property belonging to the Latin Catholic Church, while waiting for the new law. A concerted compensation for more than 200 buildings seized by the state, on the 1913 list. We would like to conclude hoping that this encounter will be blessed by God and can help progress friendship and cooperation with the Turkish State, with whom, and for whom we have been working with joy and enthusiasm for many years”. The text is signed by Msg. Franceschini and Cet spokesperson Rinaldo Marmara.