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The New York Times cleverly pointed out that since the Vatican has been unable to include a reference to “Christianity” in the new European Constitution, it has of course, continued to influence European politics, and the continent’s future, in other ways. Specifically in regard to Turkish membership in the EU, a recent interview with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger included a statement saying that Turkey, a predominantly Muslim secular republic of 70 million people, is “in permanent contrast to Europe,” and that connecting it to Europe would be a mistake. To accentuate his point, he even referred to the historical Ottoman Empire’s incursions into Europe. The Times article continued:
“Like meddlesome clerics the world over, Ratzinger is inflaming an important political debate. He is elevating religious differences over political process and personal beliefs over values that are universal, not a Judaeo-Christian monopoly. But unlike other issues on which the cardinal has recently taken provocative stands - whether pro-choice Catholic politicians should receive communion, and women’s role in society - enlargement of the European Union is outside the church’s purview. In the cardinal’s view, Europe is Christian, so Turkey doesn’t belong.
“In considering the possible implications of Turkey’s membership in the union, it would be refreshing if the cardinal had chosen to emphasize the positive potential in combining the best Christian tradition of charity and the best Muslim tradition of social justice.”
Most historians and even most of the knowledgeable public would agree that Europe is certainly not the “best Christian tradition of charity.” They know that Europe’s so-called “Christian” history is seeped in blood. It is amazing how we once again see that the only lesson mankind learns from history is that no one learns from history. Some would also argue that Turkey is not the best example of the “Muslim tradition of social justice.” Linking “justice” with Turkey would certainly be a contradiction in terms for some.
In any case, there is little chance of Europe being interested in having Turkey as a member. The Times article points out that the main concern of the Catholic Church is further secularization and loss of Christian identity—both of which would be certain if Turkey joins the union.