Turkey: Christian clerics alarmed at growing threats *Live your faith in the marketplace, cardinal tells business leaders

April 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Asia, newsletter-world, Persecution, Turkey

Turkey, April 11 2012: In the wake of an attack against an Istanbul Protestant Pastor, Christian Clerics in Turkey say they feel alarmed at the accelerating number of such incidents and even hesitate to open their doors to people.

Christian clerics in Turkey have expressed their anxiety regarding the growing threats they face in wake of an attack against Pastor Semih Serkek of the Protestant “Lütuf” (“Grace”) Church in Istanbul’s Bahçelievler district on April 7.

“Attacks against Christian clerics drop off for a while, then they begin to re-energize. [Such attacks] have begun to accelerate again in recent days. We hesitate when opening our doors and welcoming the faithful inside,” Pastor Krikor Ağabaloğlu of the Gedikpaşa Armenian Protestant Church in Istanbul told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Attack on Easter

Three unidentified individuals attacked and beat Serkek on the night of April 7, immediately after an Easter service. “They were three people around the age of 18. They wore [prayer caps] on their heads. They forced the door open and said they were going to kill me unless I recited the ‘Kelime-i Şahadet’ [Islamic confession of faith]. I received a severe blow to my chest,” Serkek told the Daily News. The attacks were not coincidental, according to Serkek, who had also served as a mentor to the three victims slain in the Malatya Zirve Publishing House incident in eastern Turkey.

Pastor Orhan Picaklar of the Agape Protestant Church in the Black Sea province of Samsun also said he has been living with a personal escort 24 hours a day for the past four years, since a plot to assassinate him first came to light. “Police [officers] keep watch at the door during mass; the believers are afraid to enter the church due to the threat to their lives,” he said. The make-shift church, located inside an apartment building, also came under attack about a month ago, Picaklar said, adding that the congregation was chagrined at being stuck in an apartment. “[The authorities] gave the green light to the construction of a new church in 2004, within the framework of theEuropean Union harmonization laws, although with the pre-condition that it must be no smaller than 2,500 square meters. We have no budget. We appealed to establish a church building 1,000 square meters in size, but did not receive approval for it.”

Ağabaloğlu said that in the case of his church, the state intentionally refused to grant permission
for the construction of a church building. “They are trying to stymie the spread of Christianity in this way.”
 
– hürriyet daily news

Live your faith in the marketplace, cardinal tells business leaders

 

Cardinal Peter K. Turkson

Cardinal Peter K. Turkson

France, April 09, 2012: Christians should integrate their faith with their work in the private sector, the head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace told business leaders as he launched a new teaching document.

“Humanity is to make creation serve its needs through the transformative power of work,” Cardinal Peter K. Turkson told 2,000 Christian businesspeople in Lyon, France. “In its exercise of business, therefore, humanity would become a ‘rock’ that sustains creation through the practice of love and justice.”

“And this appears to be really the vocation of the Christian business leader: to practice love and justice and to teach the business household for which he or she is responsible to do likewise, for the sustenance of all creation, beginning with our brothers and sisters.”

Cardinal Turkson addressed the 24th International Christian Union of Business Executives (UNIAPAC) World Congress on March 30, taking up themes of the pontifical council’s new document “Vocation of the Business Leader: A Reflection.”

He described the 30-page text – which grew out of a February 2011 seminar on Pope Benedict XVI’s social encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” – as “a helpful guide to business leaders seeking to grow in the virtue of charity as befits their vocation.”

A major problem for Christians in the modern world, according to the document, is the temptation of a “divided life” – involving a “split between the faith which many profess, and their daily lives.”

This separation of faith from professional life “is a fundamental error which contributes to much of the damage done by businesses in our world today” – including the neglect of family life, an “unhealthy attachment to power,” and the “abuse of economic power” that disregards the common good.

The pontifical council’s critique of the “divided life” is rooted in the words of Christ himself, who taught that “no one can be the slave of two masters … You cannot love both God and money.”

“Business leaders who do not see themselves serving others and God in their working lives will fill the void of purpose with a less worthy substitute,” the text notes. “The divided life is not unified or integrated: it is fundamentally disordered, and thus fails to live up to God’s call.”

The suggested remedy involves a greater awareness of the Church’s social teaching, and an embrace of the “universal call to holiness” in the professional sphere.

“A devout spiritual life is absolutely indispensable,” Cardinal Turkson told business leaders in his Lyon address. “One should be receiving the sacraments and praying frequently. When the spiritual gifts are sought, they will give one the grace to live an integrated life, and keep one from living a divided life.”

The justice and peace council’s new document notes that these are “not optional actions for a Christian,” nor are they “mere private acts separated and disconnected from business.”

Rather, by approaching work through the eyes of faith, lay people can continue Christ’s mission within their field of employment.

As Cardinal Turkson notes in the preface to “Vocation of the Business Leader,” the Church “does not relinquish the hope that Christian business leaders will, despite the present darkness, restore trust, inspire hope, and keep burning the light of faith that fuels their daily pursuit of the good.”

In Lyon, the cardinal told business leaders that an economic paradigm “centered on capital gains” has been shown to be obsolete.

Instead, he urged entrepreneurs to focus on doing God’s will in the private sector – meeting “the needs of the world with goods that are truly good and truly beneficial,” and organizing work “in a manner that is respectful of human dignity.”

– cna/ewtn news

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