Sunday, September 17, 2006

Deeply Sorry For What?

After the Pope's recent comment that caused much controversy within the Muslim world and possibly launched reactions of backlash, the Pope is now apologizing. But what is he apologizing for?

"I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims," the pope said...

Deeply sorry for the reaction? Not 'deeply sorry for the use of a quote from a medieval text' which according to the Pope himself "does not express in any way my personal thoughts." Well then, Pope Benedict, why use it?

The controversial quote that was used by the Pope was this: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." These are the words of Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus from the 14th-century.

It seems that the supposed aim of the Pope speech was to open dialogue between the different faiths. But why choose a route that highlights past hatred and bigotry and emphasises one religion as being better? The Pope was supposedly using that quote to show that we need to renounce all forms of violence in the name of religion. Well then, why didn't he use a quote that was a little closer to home and use something regarding the Crusades? The Catholic church also has a long history of promoting violence against other religions but he chose not to highlight that.

Here's a suggestion - if you are trying to open up dialogue between faiths, don't use quotes from texts in which the philosophy promotes the hatred and discrimination of the past.


Penguin said...

You stated that all very well. And, I agree.
I do have a problem with "good Christians/Catholics" who say other religions promote violence - acting as if they did/do not.
Seems to me the current president of the US stated that "God" told him to go to war in Iraq....

peppylady said...

Most people only want to emphasis on what they want to or need to. Anther way of doing have truths or lies.
What I see on the news is the Christen and Muslims behaving out of wack. I’ve never seen other religion acting out of wack.
On ABC I saw a news story about Jesus camp. The only thing I say is “Who more wacked out these day is the Christen or the Muslims”
When it come right down to it. Majority of the people what every faith they may have, are good decent humans.
I guess a few want 5 minute or less of glory on news.

Sojourner said...

Peppylady - I wouldn't say that the only religions that act "out of wack" are Christians and Muslims. We only see their reactions more often because the world's majority claims to be of these two.

In this case, it was a high profile person of one religion essentially attacking the other religion. Who wouldn't be mad if someone did that to their religion?

While I understand the upset in the Muslim world, I don't agree with some of the things that are happening. By making the threats against the Vatican and other Christian places, certain Muslims are helping to prove the quote that was used is still true today.

I find myself wondering if that was the intention of the Vatican in the first place.

Hrafnkell said...

I understand the Pope wrote his own speech in this case, a mistake I hope he avoids next time he opens his mouth. In any event, an apology that expresses sorrow only that the other person took insult seems like no apology at all, and the increased anger of the Muslims is certainly understandable.

Bernulf said...

I can understand the outrage in the Muslim community...the Pope took a theological and academic setting, and used it to push forward a political idea, regardless of context. As you pointed out, Sojourner, the Pope isn't just anyone...this is the leader of Catholic Christianity and wields an enormous amount of influence (although if he keeps this up, that influence will wane).

At the same time, I saw a clip about this on CNN where Muslims were burning an effigy of the Pope. Okay, maybe a bit harsh, but it's a demonstration of outrage. Then they tossed a German flag onto the flaming effigy. Needless - Germany didn't make these comments, Germany is actually home to quite a few Muslims - but at least they figured out the country of the Pope's birth because, shortly afterward, they were burning an American flag! There is understandable outrage, and then there is's sad that, when one is most outraged, it's easiest to cross that line.

Regardless of the Vatican's original intentions, it seems that the position of the Vatican now is that the Pope is the victim of outrage, his comments were taken out of context and misunderstood...and now some Muslims are flared up and crossing that line between outrage and stupidity.

kyle said...

Of course the quote or even the rest of the Pope's speech "does not express in any way [his] personal thoughts." As far as the Pope is considered, he is 'The Holy See' and his decree that Islam is inherently illogical and hence Godless is quite simply the opinion of God. His backhanded apologies only serve to further illustrate his pompous bigotry.

Sojourner said...

Kyle - I even go as far as saying that it wasn't an apology. Your last statement is very close to my own opinion of the situation and the man.