NewsThu Sep 21, 2006 - 12:15 pm EST
More Best Quotes on Pope and Islam Controversy
Excerpts from selected articles on the Pope and Islam controversy
September 21, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com)
THE POPE’S CHALLENGE TO ISLAM AND THE WEST - Catholic World News
Is it likely that a scholar as careful as Pope Benedict would drop such a provocative quotation into a speech delivered to an academic audience—a speech that showed all the signs of careful preparation? No. The Pope did not intend to insult Muslims, but he did hope to capture their attention, and issue a clear challenge.
The content of that challenge was clear enough: The Pope was telling the world of Islam that dialogue between religious faiths is possible only if both sides respect the rule of reason. As he went on, developing that theme, the Pope issued a much stronger challenge to the modern secular world, arguing that a form of reason that excludes religious faith is as dangerous as a faith that denies reason.
When he spoke of “the world’s profoundly religious cultures,” Cardinal Paul Poupard has noted, the Holy Father was probably thinking of the Islamic world. Taken as a whole, his speech was not unfriendly to their demands for respect; in fact, he was speaking as their ally in the confrontation with secularism!
BENEDICT THE BRAVE - Wall Street Journal
The pope said things Muslims need to hear about faith and reason. It’s a familiar spectacle: furious demands for an apology, threats, riots, violence. Anything can trigger so-called Muslim fury: a novel by a British-Indian writer, newspaper cartoons in a small Nordic country or, this past week, a talk on theology by the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
This is not an invitation to the usual feel-good interfaith round-tables. It is a request for dialogue with one condition—that everyone at the table reject the irrationality of religiously motivated violence. The pope isn’t condemning Islam; he is inviting it to join rather than reject the modern world.
By their reaction to the pope’s speech, some Muslim leaders showed again that Islam has a problem with modernity that is going to have to be solved by a debate within Islam. The day Muslims condemn Islamic terror with the same vehemence they condemn those who criticize Islam, an attempt at dialogue—and at improving relations between the Western and Islamic worlds—can begin.
SPANISH PM RALLIES BEHIND POPE IN ISLAM CONTROVERSY
Madrid, 20 Sept. (AKI) - Muslims societies around the world should calm down and step back from the “disquiet” they may have experienced at Pope Benedict XVI’s recent remarks linking Islam and violence to allow “understanding to prevail,” Spain’s prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said on Wednesday. “I am absolutely convinced that the Pope at no time wanted to cause controversy, confrontation or criticism of the Islamic confession or the people who practise it,” Zapatero stated, adding that Benedict XVI had his “full support.”
Zapatero’s defence of the Pope may be a surprise to some, as his government has passed legislation that has angered the Catholic church and Catholics in Spain, such as the legalisation of gay marriage and adoptions by same sex couples.
CALLS FOR CALM AS MILITANTS THREATEN TO KILL THE POPE - Time on Line
Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, defended Pope Benedict XVI, saying: “There are elements in Islam that can be used to justify violence, just as there are in Christianity and Judaism.” He added: “The Pope has issued an apology, and I think his views on this need to be judged against his entire record, where he has spoken very positively about dialogue.”
In the Vatican, dismay over the crisis was mingled with grim irony that a quotation accusing Islam of using violence had been greeted with violence.
Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, said: “The violent reactions in many parts of the Islamic world justified one of Pope Benedict’s main fears . . . They show the link for many Islamists between religion and violence, their refusal to respond to criticism with rational arguments, but only with demonstrations, threats and actual violence.”
ISLAMIC GROUPS IN SPAIN DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM “DAY OF WRATH” AGAINST THE POPE - Catholic News Agency
The president of the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities, Felix Herrero, said Tuesday the organization would not participate in the “day of Islamic wrath,” called for the head of the Worldwide Union Muslim Ulemas, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, in response to Pope Benedict XVI’s discourse on Islam and Mohammed
He also called on Muslims living in Spain “not to fall into provocations or to be carried away by interests of a suspicious nature.”ÂÂ
WESTERN LEADERS CRITICIZED FOR SILENCE REGARDING ATTACKS ON THE POPE - Catholic News Agency
The official publications of the Bishops’ Conference of Italy, as well as several local Italian political officials, have strongly criticized the leaders of western nations for the silence regarding the threats and insults that have been leveled against Pope Benedict XVI by Muslims.
Prominent Italian politicians followed suit in criticizing western governments, especially that of Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, saying his “silence in the face of a violent campaign against the Pontiff is scandalous.”
THE POPE WAS RIGHT - George Weigel - La Times
In his controversial speech last week, Benedict set forth a bold agenda for the civilized world.
The pope’s first point was that all the great questions of life, including social and political questions, are ultimately theological. How we think (or don’t think) about God has much to do with how we judge what is good and what is wicked, and with how we think about the appropriate methods for advancing the truth in a world in which there are profound disagreements about the truth of things.
Too few Islamic leaders, the pope seemed to suggest, have been willing to undertake a cleansing of Islam’s conscience — as Pope John Paul II taught the Catholic Church to cleanse its historical conscience.
THE NEW POPE IS FIGHTING FOR THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF EUROPE - Hudson Institute
The New York Times writes that “the Vatican does not have enough experts on Islam to gauge reaction to any papal statements,” but the church has been contemplating its historical rival for about 1,300 years longer than the paper of record.
Sure the Pope is concerned about Islam, as are all Europeans. His sentiments about Muslim Turkey not belonging to Christian Europe are well-known. “Europe is a cultural and not a geographical continent,” Ratzinger said back in 2004, a year before he became Pope. But he has stated repeatedly, and even in this recent address, that the major threat to Europe comes from secularism.
Here he is like many European Muslim leaders and ideologues, Tariq Ramadan for instance, who believe that the continent has been overcome with a spiritual malaise, a lack of purpose and self-esteem. Unlike secularism, Islam is a worthy competitor for men’s souls—it is just an inferior doctrine, self-evidently so because it did not produce Europe. Moreover, and this is the point of the text Benedict cites, Islam is incapable of producing a Europe because its conception of God does not assume a rational divinity.
So, the Vicar of Christ does not believe that Catholic doctrine is superior to Muslim teaching? Sure he does. The Pope does not want Christian Europe to regain its spirituality by becoming less rational, like Islam, but through an expanded concept of reason—one large enough to encompass a creator who is Himself rational.
Sure the European intellectual class believes the Pope is a moron for getting so many Muslims angry, but the elite is not his primary audience; rather, he was speaking over their heads to the masses of ordinary Catholics. What will they believe in? What will they live for and die for? Maybe the Church.
It is hard to get people to live, never mind die, for principles based entirely on reason. Most people need something real to fight for, something tangible. And this is the dilemma of liberal democracies that bin Laden, Nasrallah, and Ahmadinejad, among others, have rightly identified.
ÂTHE (FALSE) TALE OF TWO POPES - Ignatius Insight
In Islam all the richness of God’s self-revelation, which constitutes the heritage of the Old and New Testaments, has definitely been set aside. Some of the most beautiful names in the human language are given to the God of the Koran, but He is ultimately a God outside of the world, a God who is only Majesty, never Emmanuel, God-with-us. Islam is not a religion of redemption. There is no room for the Cross and the Resurrection. Jesus is mentioned, but only as a prophet who prepares for the last prophet, Muhammad. There is also mention of Mary, His Virgin Mother, but the tragedy of redemption is completely absent. For this reason not only the theology but also the anthropology of Islam is very distant from Christianity. (emphasis in original).
The first quote comes from Pope John Paul II’s book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope (1994).
...it is becoming more and more common for John Paul II to be presented as a man of peace and Benedict to be portrayed as a man who either disdains peace, or doesn’t know how to go about making or keeping the peace.
More troubling are comments from Catholics, including former Vatican officials, who seem altogether eager to give the benefit of the doubt to angry Muslims and not to the Holy Father.
THE POPE’S BIG MISTAKE: INVOKING PAST CONFLICTS - Michael Medved - Townhall
The hysterical response to the Pope’s harmless if clumsy citation of a Medieval quote only underscores the point. The Dark Ages thinking that prevails in nearly all Islamic societies produces logic that suggests that the best way to rebut the ancient charge that Islam is inextricably intertwined with violence is to provide alarming displays of new violence. The public relations masters in Mecca and other centers of Islamist “thought” have concluded that they can prove that they do indeed honor reason and persuasion more than force by fire-bombing churches, killing nuns and issuing statements (even in London!) demanding the Pope’s assassination.
SYRIA’S GRAND MUFTI SAYS POPE’S EXPLANATION “MORE THAN ENOUGH” -Â Asia news
“The clarifications supplied by the Pope are more than sufficient, although I would ask for, if possible, more explanation.”Â With these words, the Sunni Grand Mufti of the Arab republic of Syria, Ahmad Badr El Din El Hassoun summed up a meeting yesterday – Tuesday – with the Apostolic Nuncio of Syria, Mgr Giovanni Morandini. In a statement to AsiaNews, he added: “The disapproval of Pope Benedict XVI and his bitterness after the recent reactions are more than an ‘apology’ for us and a great sign of respect towards the Islamic world.” El Hassoun called on “all to respect this great personality, Pope Benedict XVI.”
IN PAKISTAN CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS STUDY POPE’S SPEECH TOGETHER - Asia News
Local Church is behind the meeting in Faisalabad. Muslims appreciate the initiative. The Pope’s Regensburg speech will be translated into Urdu so that Muslim clerics can better understand it.
THE POPE, JIHAD AND “DIALOGUE” - Front Page Magazine
An unapologetic view of Islamic history reveals that forced conversions to Islam are not exceptional—they have been the norm, across three continents—Asia, Africa, and Europe—for over 13 centuries.
Moreover, during jihad—even the jihad campaigns of the 20th century [i.e., the jihad genocide of the Armenians during World War I, the Moplah jihad in Southern India , the jihad against the Assyrians of Iraq [early 1930s], the jihads against the Chinese of Indonesia and the Christian Ibo of southern Nigeria in the 1960s, and the jihad against the Christians and Animists of the southern Sudan from 1983 to 2001], the dubious concept (see Paret, above) of “no compulsion” (Koran 2:256; which was cited with tragic irony during the Fox reporters “confessional”! ) , has always been meaningless.
N.Y. TIMES STILL LECTURING POPE -Â Newsbusters
As his unfortunate comments show, the pope needs high-level experts on Islam to help guide him. In offering his regrets, the pope said that in its totality, his speech was intended as “an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect.” In living up to that, he and other top Vatican officials will have to accept that genuine communication cannot occur on their terms only.
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