Pope visits the Istanbul, Blue MosqueISTANBUL, Turkey  - During his four-day trip to Turkey, Pope Benedict XVI, known for his precise and incisive words, showed he was also a master of the spontaneous gesture.

While his scholarly words in a September lecture in Germany offended millions of Muslims, his prayer in an Istanbul mosque surprised and delighted many of them.

Benedict offers friendship to Turkish Muslims


Pope Benedict XVI shakes hands with Ali Bardakoglu, the head of Turkey's religious affairs directorateANKARA, Turkey - Acknowledging that his four-day trip to Turkey would be largely symbolic, Pope Benedict XVI opened his visit by paying respect to the Turkish state and extending a hand of friendship to its predominantly Muslim population.

On the plane from Rome Nov. 28, Pope Benedict told reporters, "We must not exaggerate; one cannot expect great results in just three days. The value (of the trip) I would say is symbolic, the fruit of the encounters themselves, of encounters in friendship and respect."

Value of priestly celibacy reaffirmed

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI and top Vatican officials, meeting to review the status of married priests, reaffirmed the value of priestly celibacy and said its importance should be highlighted among priests and seminarians.

Honduran cardinal seeks 'helping hand' on mining problem

TORONTO - A cardinal in Honduras has asked the Canadian government to rein in Canadian mining companies operating in his country.

Benedict offers 'outstretched hand' to Islam

Pope Benedict meets Islamic womanVATICAN CITY  - Pope Benedict XVI's remarks on Islam in Regensburg, Germany, opened a new chapter in the Vatican's 40-year dialogue with the Muslim world and brought the Pope's own views on Islam into clearer focus.

Vatican: Saddam death sentence wrong

Saddam HusseinVATICAN CITY - The head of the Vatican's justice and peace office and an editor of a Vatican-approved Jesuit journal said it would be wrong to carry out the death penalty against Saddam Hussein.

Pope encourages Irish bishops to bring healing to abuse victims

Pope Benedict XVIPope Benedict XVI said priestly sexual abuse of minors was a "heart-rending" tragedy that requires an effort of purification by the church.

Pope’s affirmation of Christianity transcends politics

Pope Benedict XVIVERONA, Italy - Navigating the murky waters of Italian ecclesial politics is no easy task, so interest was high when Pope Benedict XVI addressed the country’s most important Catholic gathering in 10 years.

Islam scholars publish letter on Pope’s Regensburg comments

Pope Benedict XVIVATICAN CITY - International Islamic scholars published an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI, taking issue with what they described as mistakes and oversimplifications of Islam in a recent papal speech to German academics.

Patriarch looking forward to papal visit

Pope Benedict XVIISTANBUL, Turkey - Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said he hopes Pope Benedict XVI's November trip to Turkey will help calm recent tensions with Islam and advance his church's struggle for religious rights.