Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pope refrains to use term genocide

On November 23, Catholicos of Cilicia, His Holiness Aram I visited Vatican where he met with Pope Benedict XVI.

At the audience, at which the Pope was accompanied by Aram I, the pontiff deplored "misunderstandings among Christians".

He said the Armenian leader’s "fraternal visit" is "an occasion to strengthen the bonds that exist and a further step in the journey toward full unity, which is the objective of all Christians and a gift of the Lord."

For his part, Aram I said, "Churches, religions and states should recognize all genocides, including the Armenian Genocide, and they should commit themselves to preventing all genocides."

Earlier, a high-ranking Vatican official has emphasized that the Holy See regards the Armenian Genocide as a fact.

"The Armenian Genocide is a fact.

The Vatican’s stance on this issue was stated during a visit to Armenia by [late Pope] John Paul II.

The pope attended the Armenian Genocide memorial and did use the term Genocide, although this did not please Turkey," said Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The cardinal’s remarks came ahead of meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and a group of visiting Armenian clerics led by Catholicos of Cilicia Aram I, the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Lebanon.

"Genocide is not an allegation, but is a reality. This is not an issue of term. It is a historical fact with a lot of victims and this memory needs to be healed. I don’t know what the Vatican can do to ease Turkey-Armenia relations. But this is also an important case for peace in the Middle East. First of all, the Catholic Church sides with the victims. This is the most important principle for us while determining our manners," the Cardinal said.

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(Source: AN)