The Pope is visiting Turkey. I put together a fairly random collection of newsflashes from my newsreader to illustrate how his acts have an enormous communicative value. Everything he does is perceived as a gesture of some kind (which is perhaps the most common use of the word gesture, see examples here, here and more). And former cardinal Ratzinger seems to have gained considerable oratory skills, for he is using his gestural power to the max. He knows people will pick it up so he continuously produces small acts like shaking hands, reaching out, waving, smiling, saying nice things, refraining from criticism, and even waving a flag. The last one is hardly a little act, though, but of enormous symbolic value by itself.
Pope’s trip to Turkey starts on conciliatory note ANKARA (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI began a delicate mission to Turkey, trading conciliatory gestures with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as both sought to calm the storm unleashed when the pontiff appeared to link Islam to violence.
Pope makes further Muslim-Christian gesture EFES, Turkey (Reuters) – Turkey on Wednesday praised the conciliatory tone of Pope Benedict during his visit to the predominantly Muslim country and his apparent new support for Ankara’s bid to join the European Union.
Gestures of Goodwill from the Pope in Izmir, Turkey. [..] Pope Benedict XVI visited the Virgin Mary’s house in Ephesus, which is considered sacred by Christians, and presided over mass [..] and waved the Turkish flag given to him at the end the mass. Upon his arrival in Ankara, the pope had hinted that the Vatican supported Turkey’s membership to the European Union, and such gestures of goodwill continued during the mass.
Benedict XVI makes further Muslim-Christian gestures EFES, Turkey: Turkey yesterday praised the conciliatory tone of Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the predominantly Muslim country and his apparent new support for Ankara’s bid to join the European Union.
Sunday Times (ZA)
Pope “wins Turkey’s heart” ISTANBUL – A picture of Pope Benedict XVI waving a Turkish flag was on the front pages of nearly all Turkish newspapers as the pontiff won more praise for his conciliatory gestures during his first trip to a Muslim country.
Benedict XVI’s ‘Gesture of Love’ ROME, NOV. 30, 2006 (Zenit) – The exchange of visits between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches is a “gesture of love,” says Father Giovanni Cereti, Professor of Ecumenical Theology