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Pope calls on mostly-Muslim Turkey to give Roman Catholic Church legal recognition


Rome (RNS/ENI) Pope Benedict XVI has called on Turkey to give legal recognition to the Roman Catholic Church in the Muslim-majority but politically secular nation, which has been criticized for its treatment of religious minorities as it seeks to join the European Union.

Receiving Kenan Gursoy, the new Turkish ambassador to the Vatican Benedict said Jan. 7 that Catholics appreciated the freedom of worship, “guaranteed by the constitution” in Turkey. However, he added that “civil juridical recognition” would help the church, “to enjoy full religious freedom and to make an even greater contribution to society.”

About 99 percent of Turkey’s 77-million people are Muslim. The Catholic Church there has about 32,000 members.