Mario Mauro, vice-president of the European Parliament, said in a statement today, "Let us defend the Pope without ifs or buts, let us defend reason," in answer to the reactions from the Muslim world to Pope Benedict XVI's lecture at the University of Regensburg on Tuesday.
"The monstruous attempt on the part of many Islamic leaders, even the so-called moderates, to distort the Pope's reaching out to all religions (through the lecture),in order to hit out at Christians and the West shows us the gravity of the danger we are facing," Mauro continues.
He underscores how "the islamo-nazi ideology that permeates the thought of fundamentalists represents the most dramatic distortion of the use of reason." The statement continues: "They use God as a pretext to pursue a plan for power, and this is what the Pope has denounced, thereby defending freedom for all, especially for those Muslims who look to religion as an experience of the sense of life, and not as a shortcut to political power.
"It is remarkable that so many names, too many, among those with political responsibility (in the Western world) are not coming to the defense of the words said by the Vicar of Christ! It is almost as if they are ashamed or are too cowardly to speak up in defense of reason and freedom."
I would like to point out, as I have at times in the past, that for several decades preceding the recent rise in radical fundamentalist Islam, the Vatican has worked with Islamic nations on the international front, with great benefit. Someone said to me a while back that for years in international bodies, the only nations that stood with the Vatican in opposition to the growing power of the reproductive rights lobbies and groups were the Islamic nations. There was a great deal of common ground, and there is an appreciation of this, which perhaps gives the present row another dimension.