AnalogKid

Deo volente.

The Pope is riding the fence Politically, but not Religiously

I could spend several pages covering why I think Benedict is right on religiously in his recent remarks about Islam and its consuming volunteerism. I went into some length here as to why I felt like his remarks were carefully measured. I discussed the connection between his speech and the dearth of philosophical leadership in the West here, making the case that the Pope was drawing the philosophical lines that need to be drawn for the West and the East. Of course, most telling of all was the reaction by Islam at large: shock(!) and outrage(!) here.

Now he’s still not apologizing:

Pope Benedict said on Wednesday that his use of medieval quotes portraying a violent Islam did not reflect his views and were misunderstood, but he did not give the clear apology still demanded by many Muslims.

The leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Roman Catholics, whose speech last week has provoked al Qaeda groups to declare war on the Church, Iraqis to burn the Pope’s effigy and Turks to petition for his arrest, said he had not meant to cause offence.

That is a very political way of saying that he meant what he said. Every apology that he has made has been the same: the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt is right to understand that this is no apology at all.

But in that recognition, they are missing the bigger point of course.

“For the careful reader of my text it is clear that I in no way wanted to make mine the negative words pronounced by the medieval emperor and their polemical content does not reflect my personal conviction,” he said.

His said his intention had been to “explain that religion and violence do not go together but religion and reason do.” He said he hoped the furor could help encourage “positive and even self-critical dialogue.”

As I made clear, he was attacking the West’s uneasy relationship with Christianity first and foremost in the speech. But it was also clear that he wished this point to be understood in the context of Islam’s own ecclesiastical fall. The message seems clear enough: the West cannot come to grips with its need to destroy evil if it cannot distinguish evil from good, and the means of making that distinction lie in the West’s evolved religions.

If anything, Benedict was being dismissive of Islam.

Islamo-fascists are right to be concerned of course – America would be dangerous if she were decisive. And they would be doomed if America were both decisive and guided by a clear conceptualization of good vs. evil.

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September 21, 2006 - Posted by | Leaders of the West, Politics

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