Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Apologize? For what and to whom?

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) says the strangest and most paradoxical things about Pope Benedict's Regensburg Lecture.
"We wish to invite our brothers and sisters of whatever religious sentiment to read the said address that is readily available (in the website). Reading the address in the full context will greatly help in understanding the message of Pope Benedict XVI, " the CBCP urged.

"It may be good to note that upon objectively reading said address, one realizes that it was not the intention of the Holy Father to undertake a comprehensive study of the jihad and of Muslim ideas on the subject -- much less to offend the sensibilities of the Muslim brothers and sisters," it said.

"On the contrary, the Holy Father warns especially the Western culture to avoid "the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom," the CBCP said.

"A just consideration of the religious dimension is, in fact, an essential premise for a fruitful dialogue with the great cultures and religions of the world," it added.
I say strange and paradoxical because the CBCP not only denies the fact that Benedict WAS addressing "jihad and the Muslim ideas on the subject" when he condemned violent conversion as alien to the nature of religion. But what is worse is that the CBCP claims the actual target of the Holy Father's criticisms was actually...ta dah!...cyncial Western culture! Someone is bending over awful far to be politically correct...or at least consistent with the equally erroneous position someone took during the Danish cartoon controversy!

But not all Catholic Bishops are constrained to conform to the prevailing cant of "responsible papacy" or "responsible journalism"...

thinks it is a critical time for the Pope but uprightly defends him:
"Muslims should not exaggerate what fault they may see in the Pope’s speech. Untempered rage and violent reprisals may only show the rest of the world that the words of the emperor quoted by the Pope have indeed some justification. Once the Pope has explained that it was not his intention to hurt their feelings, and once he has made clear that he does not share in the exaggeratedly negative assessment of the person he cited, it would advance the cause of mutual understanding and peace if the Muslims who felt hurt would graciously accept the Pope’s gesture."
In the demagagosphere, the heavyweight Catolico cerrados have not yet weighed in (dumbstruck?). But the atheists are speaking up...Manila Standard columnist ANTONIO C. ABAYA ("Papal Bull") describes the reaction in the "Muslim press" as "predictably scathing" and immediately quotes the BBC. How apt! Abaya ends up wagging his finger at the Pope by praising Saladin's recapture of Jerusalem, writing:
By contrast, when Saladdin recaptured Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187, the 60,000 Christian survivors of the battle were freed on ransom from the English king; captured Christian defenders were reunited with their wives and daughters; Christian pilgrims were guaranteed safe passage to and from the Holy Land.

Muslims feel they do not need any lectures on right conduct and morals from any Christian leader.

(And so the interfaith dialogues begin...just as President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo suggested during her recent trip to Europe...Seems at least that the Pope has obliged her at Regensberg!)

The Jakarta Post's KORNELIUS PURBA,an Indonesian Catholic asks,
As the supreme leader of the Catholic church, was it wise to discuss such a sensitive issue amid the growing distrust between Christianity and Islam, regardless of the truth or untruth of his observations? It will be more difficult now to argue there is no "clash of civilizations" between the West (Christianity) and Islam. It will also be more difficult for the Catholic church to continue an effective interfaith dialog with Islam if Muslims suspect the sincerity of the church's leader."
The difficulty of such a dialog, if it is even at all possible, cannot be avoided by sweeping the substantial issues under the rug. If anything I must agree with the New York Sun's
DANIEL JOHNSON ("Understanding Benedict")
who writes:
"By now, the answer to these questions is clear: churches firebombed in the West Bank and Gaza, a nun murdered in Somalia. Such persecution is, alas, routine in many Muslim lands, and Catholics are not the only victims. But it is clear that Muslim leaders — even those of "pro-Western" countries such as Turkey or Pakistan — are not yet ready for the "frank" dialogue proposed by the pope. By pointing out that violence is a part of medieval Islam, not a "distortion," as Western liberals like to think, Benedict has touched a raw nerve.

"No, this pope is not naïve. It is our liberal, theologically illiterate politicians who are naïve. We are already at war — a holy war, which we may lose.

"Nor is he inconsistent. The Ratzinger of old, his skill in disputation honed over many years of patiently defending Catholic orthodoxy against liberal or secular opponents, was never going to duck the long-postponed doctrinal confrontation with Islam. In his subtle, scholarly way, he is urging the rest of us to face the fact that if we have no faith, we cannot hope to withstand the onslaught of a resurgent Islam.

"Benedict is well aware of the risks, not least to his own life, of speaking out. Like his great Polish predecessor, this "German shepherd" has the courage of his convictions. Thank God he does: Without convictions, our courage will surely fail us."
I suppose way over at the other end of the spectrum are the reported statements of Al Qaeda in Iraq which calls on the West to surrender now, convert to Islam, or surely die by the sword. Here is coverage from the SITE Institute on statements by Iraqi insurgent groups on the Pope's Regensburg comments.


Suttung said...

papal balls. that's what he's got.

john marzan said...

(via instapundit)

from anne applebaum: Enough apologies:


None of the radical clerics accepts Western apologies, and none of their radical followers reads the Western press. Instead, Western politicians, writers, thinkers and speakers should stop apologizing -- and start uniting. . . .

True, these principles sound pretty elementary -- "we're pro-free speech and anti-gratuitous violence" -- but in the days since the pope's sermon, I don't feel that I've heard them defended in anything like a unanimous chorus. A lot more time has been spent analyzing what the pontiff meant to say, or should have said, or might have said if he had been given better advice.

All of which is simply beside the point, since nothing the pope has ever said comes even close to matching the vitriol, extremism and hatred that pour out of the mouths of radical imams and fanatical clerics every day, all across Europe and the Muslim world, almost none of which ever provokes any Western response at all. And maybe it's time that it should.

Without Borders said...

i actually like the speech. the guy is highly intelligent. i respect him some more after reading that speech.

tony.basa said...

As long as Christianity and Islam both assert they hold the One Truth, dialogues will just be exercises in futility. But hey, it's so much better than killing each other!