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September 16, 2006


T. Chan

I suppose refusing to subscribe to the NY Times wouldn't be enough of a response?

S.M. Stirling

Well, that's the NYT for you -- I could carve a better backbone out of a banana.

Marco, Triumphalistic Papist

If everyone would just actually read the Holy Father's remarks, they would see there is nothing remotely insulting to Islam. And if there was, so what? Where are Islam's apologies for the wrongs it has committed over the centuries against Christianity? Don't hold your breath. As for the NY Times, I spit on it and their filthy editorial board of scum.


You ask us to write the Times and link examples of hate speech coming from Muslims, as though turnabout is fair play. I don't think what the Pope said WAS hate speech but a million examples of one kind doesn't legitimize another kind.
My objection to the Times piece is that they are piling on when they know better and attacking and attempting to humiliate and marginalize someone who opposes them in other matters and in the speech itself. Who better than the editors and columnists at the Times epitomize the effort to wipe faith off the stage and give the podium to those who are "reasonable" enough to be atheists or, at least, keep faith in its place out of sight and at home?


"As for the NY Times, I spit on it and their filthy editorial board of scum."

Well said, my thought's exactly! What an amazing display of hipocrisy, stupidity and misrepresentation of the Holy Father's words. Good for them that us Catholics aren't violent fanatics like the moslems they're trying to appease, or they would be fearing for their lives because of this editorial... or not, since they probably would never publish something like this in the first place. They're truly pathetic, it's all I can say.


Somewhere, Walter Duranty is murmuring "Well played, sirs!"


Benedict begins by speaking of the great faculties at that college that approached God in faith through reason because God is reason. He tells the story about the 14th c. debate and notes that Constantinople was under siege [by the Turks] shortly thereafter, perhaps making a point about reason and violence.
The story notes that it was only when Muhammed had achieved great power that he made a change in the Koran, allowing for violent conversions. Perhaps, Benedict was making a point about abuses that can come from mighty temporal power.
He ends by saying "the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf... The West has long been endangered by this aversion to the questions which underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby. The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur - this is the programme with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. "Not to act reasonably, not to act with logos, is contrary to the nature of God", said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures."
To me, he is saying there is no distinction between faith and reason because God - who is love - is also reason. And, through reason, we can convince others.

Clare Krishan

While you wait for the Angelus, pray for our priests preparing to preach on Who do you say that I am? the theme for Catechetical Sunday and the coming year of study. Don't tell the NYTimes, of course, imagine the headlines:
      "Adding insult to injury, thousands of Catholic priests foment discord"
      "Deliberateand careless preachers spread tragic and dangerous message of catechesis to stem loss of a uniform Catholic identity"
      "Declining calls for deep and persuasive apologies, clergy instead quote 2,000-yr-old text - not exactly the best jumping-off point for tolerance or interfaith dialogue."

Just kidding, of course, they're not that dense are they ... ?

Clare Krishan

B16s reference to the Burning Bush features in the Explanation of the Artwork for the CCD theme designed by Fran Gregory.
The theme ... is taken from Mark 8:27-35. Scripture scholars suggest that this question invites the reader back to Exodus 3 when God revealed himself to Moses through the burning bush. When Moses asks for God’s name, “God replied, ‘I am who am.’/Then he added, ‘This is what you shall tell the Israelites:/I AM sent me to you.’” (Ex. 3:14). For Jesus to use the words “I am” as part of his question indicates that Jesus is linked to God. This passage in Mark is a moment of God’s revelation. The artwork shows the burning bush of Exodus 3. Revealed in the flames of the burning bush are the following symbols that have been used by the Church for thousands of years: Alpha and Omega, Bread and Cup, Bread and Fish, Chi Rho, Cross and White Cloth, Fish/ICTHUS, IHS, Lamb, Wheat.


The New York Times has no credibility. If the paper really cared about pain inflicted on religion and religious figures, how about some consideration for the pain this editorial inflicts on Roman Catholics? What are we, chopped liver? And why didn't the editorial staff read the rest of Pope Benedict's lecture? Oh, I know, it would strain their feeble brains too much. Where exactly, by the way, are those "many Muslims" who denounce violent jihad? Not on the streets of Pakistan or on the floor of the Turkish parliament, that's for sure. And apparently the Times has never heard that the Pope is, uh, a CATHOLIC whose job it is to safeguard a uniform Catholic identity. Duh.

The only use for this paper is to wrap fish.

Tom Trevino

I agree with the NYT editorial, and am glad to see at least someone in the Western Press showing some backbone, and calling the Pope to account. Words have power, and for one of the heads of all Christendom to repeat such an inflammatory (and ignorant) statement as that of this Byzantine Emperor is really irresponsible.

I have read the Pope's address in full, and while it has very little to do with Islam or Jihad, the quote's prominent placement at the beginning of his address does warrant the attention it is now receiving.

Forget the jihad part, the inclusion of the “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman," portion comes across as gratuitous insult. You never hear Muslims criticizing Jesus in this manner (since he is regarded as a Prophet after all), but poor ol' Muhammad gets treated like dirt.

No, Benedict is no JP2, thats fer sure, but perhaps the motto of his Papacy from hereonin should be "do no harm".

David Quinn

I think it's fair to say we now know how elite opinion in the 1930s would have reacted had the Pope condemned Nazism in the terms the world of 2006 requires. He would have been condemned in turn for being dangerously provocative.

We appease radical Islam today in much the same way we once appeased Nazism. We think now, as we thought then, that it is better not to bait the beast.

The NYT is one of the chief prosecutors in the case against 'Hitler's Pope'. But today, when we have a Pope willing to give a quote, 600 years old, that is sharply critical of those who use violence to spread religion, the NYT goes on the warpath again demanding apologies.

Perhaps we can expect the NYT of 2056, when it has learned that Appeasment 2006 is no more fruitful than Appeasement 1936, to condemn the current Popes for their mealy-mouthedness and for hiding behind criticisms of six centuries vintage.

John W.

According to the NYT Catholics are supposed to look dispassionately at a crucifix in a jar of urine and an image of the Blessed Mother in cow dung, but if Pope Benedict points out an obvious fact that religion is being used to justify violence and Muslims might be involved; BXVI must be condemned and hushed up.

Where are the Moslem leaders condemning violence of people blowing themselves up in the name of Islam? Or have we forgotten about the riots caused by the cartoons of Mohammed? No, Moslems can only lash out at the Pope, boy do they have guts!

Donald R. McClarey

The new motto of the NYT: "All the News That's
Fit to Print (as long as it doesn't offend the jihadists)


The pope raises an important question, "Can Muslims look beyond that text and truly see the face of God in all people, including those who aren't followers of the Prophet?"

By their constant actions of forcing Christians to convert to Islam at gunpoint, or by burning churches, or by killing priests or by bombing buildings with airplanes or by protesting in the streets making inflamatory remarks like calling the pope Hitler, etc - can we really see the face of God who demands of all people - love and peace?

L White

I think an earlier commenter stated that there are two points made in the offending paragraph:

1. the Emperor's statement that there is nothing positive in Islam and

2. the pope's claim that it is wrong to force conversions.

There was no need even to quote someone else's statement of #1 in order to make point #2. To quote a statement without denying it is to lend credence to it. Like saying, "so-and-so says your ugly"...

Normally, an apology or clarification would be called for in such a situation. But anything like an apology or clarification should condemn unambiguously the negative elements in the beliefs held by many Muslims: approval of forced conversions and violence for religious ends, the denial of freedom of the will because God pre-ordains both good and evil actions (note how these two go together naturally).

Now that he's gotten everyone's attention he should say courageously what needs to be said. He would do well to criticize evil beliefs that some Muslims (with good historical basis) regard as integral to their faith. He would also do well to find something positive to say as well. But he he shouldn't shrink back from giving a direct challenge.

After all, if you're gonna have enemies, you might as well have them for the right reason.

Well, that's enough of armchair pontificating for today.


The News York Slimes did it again! I'm sure part of their corporate agenda is to look for trouble as defined by their own secular priests, the Board other idealogues at the paper. It's the sleasiest type of journalism -- an biased agenda, poor research, quotes and insinuations purposely taken out of context and, let's be honest about it, a real hatred for what the Church is and what it stands for. Disgusting and sad. This is why when I read stories about the MSM being in trouble, I rejoice!
Cheers from Canada. Tony


Unbelievable!! And the NYTimes printing of Judith Miller's stovepipe of lies did nothing to foment "muslim rage"??!!?


I think it's actually a waste of time to send links to the NYT about Muslim anti-Semitic speech. The NYT has an agenda and it's multiculturalism and anti-faith. They won't care how many links you send. However, if you subscribe to the NYT you might cancel your subscription. OR, and even better, you might contact their advertisers and tell them you won't buy their products as long as they support the NYT.

Now a radio report is saying the Pope is trying: "to make amends" for his speech, when Cardinal Bertone's remarks only said the Pope wished his remarks could be understood in their true intent. You see, there's no such thing as a "rational" report from the MSM and it's really useless to try to deal with them. Just go for their advertisers.

Joseph R. Wilson

It helps to read what has been widely quoted out of context (in spite of Pope Benedict's efforts to provide contest in his address) "on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence".

It appears that there isn't much else of the usual fare of cable news going on this weekend. There should be plenty of time for "moderate" Muslims to vociferously denounce jihad, dhimmitude, and other aspects of Muhammad's example, and the Qur’an, that they would moderate. The Gray Lady got off to a rocky start, but Robert Spemcer might yet help her to turn toward the light on the matter of Islam and violence in God's name.

james englert

Three questions for the Times:

1. Has the editorialist actually read the whole speech?

2. If a party believes itself to have been insulted, have they in fact been insulted?

3. Is it now the rule that any discussion of Islam must abjure intellectually provocative statements?


You never hear Muslims criticizing Jesus in this manner (since he is regarded as a Prophet after all), but poor ol' Muhammad gets treated like dirt.

Muslims claim to recognize Jesus as a small-p prophet, but he is a Jesus of their own making. The Jesus of the Gospels who we follow as our Lord and Savior? He didn't exist and Christians who think he did are deluded fools following false texts and who at best are tolerated and taxed until they see the light and submit to Islam. Personally, I'd call that treating Jesus (and Christians) like dirt. Therefore, I am outraged and at this moment trying to decide exactly whom in that non-heirarchical heresy known as Islam I might burn in effigy.

Joseph R. Wilson

Sorry, that should have read "Robert Spencer", who has an interesting blog jihadwatch.org .


The NYTimes' chief mistake seems to be that they assume that Muslims are not smart enough to engage in reasonable debate. The Times itself seems to be incapable of engaging in reasonable debate.

I don't put much stock in the Times editorial page, but it has just attained the rank of fish wrapper.

Steve Cavanaugh

"1. the Emperor's statement that there is nothing positive in Islam and"

Well, the Pope's speech which quoted the Emperor Michael didn't say this at all, so whoever got this must be one of those of whom the NYT writes "The world listens carefully to the words of any pope." (proved wrong by the NYT editorial, which clearly did not read this text carefully). What it said is that those things that are new in Mohammad's teachings are evil. What would those new things be: war against unbelievers as a command, polygamy and concubinage, the denial of the crucifixion, resurrection and redemption wrought by Jesus, etc. I think those could be labeled evil teachings. The teachings on prayer, fasting, almsgiving were all pretty clearly lifted from the surrounding Jewish and Christian communities with which Mohammed, as a trader, had frequent contact.

While the NYT thinks that referencing a 14th century text is beyond the pale, it fails to realize that the debates of the Middle Ages on the sovreignty of God and the reasonableness of God, on the nature of God in short which were engaged in by the leading minds of the West and Middle East of that time (Maimonides, Anselm, Aquinas, Bonaventure, Avicenna and Averroes, et al.) are still debates that have decisive importance for policy and cultural life today.

"You ask us to write the Times and link examples of hate speech coming from Muslims, as though turnabout is fair play. "

No, Amy did not ask this...she asked us to send links to articles in the NYT that denounced Jihadist violence and Moslem anti-Semitism.

Another example of people not reading things closely. As a former English teacher, I know how endemic it is...and that it is not just an academic problem.


Muslims don't believe that Jesus died on the cross, but rather snuck out and lived a long life. Pretty darned insulting, I'd say.


Wonderful idea Janice. Go to the advertisers. I'll start doing more of it. If enough people do it, maybe some of the discontent will filter down to the paper.

L White

Good points by Steve Cavanaugh... I am the guy you quote at the beginning of your post. Although it may seem otherwise to you, I did read and reread the pope's EXCELLENT talk at Regensburg(sp?), but I didn't summarize as carefully as I should have. I stand by my point that B16's quoting the Emperor's words as he did is problematic, but I think that the rest of what Benedict said is incredibly profound and relevant.

Your point that debates about the sovereignty of God is really relevant what I was trying to saying when I brought up freedom of the will. I hope that Benedict returns to this theme. How about an encyclical on "Terrorism and Divine Sovreignty" or something like that?

I look forward to reading more of your comments.


The NYT is carrying out a diversionary maneuver. They recognize that it is the falsity of their ideology of secular relativism that is the main object of the Pope's teaching. They try to deflect this truth by pretending outrage at the "offense" offered to another party.

Truth and popularity are not going to be companions in an age of intolerant secularism and violent, expansive Islamism.


L White writes "I think an earlier commenter stated that...[a] point...made in the offending paragraph[is]...the Emperor's statement that there is nothing positive in Islam."
This isn't what Pope Benedict said at all and it isn't what I wrote.
What Pope Benedict said is that what Muhammed ADDED to Islam AFTER he gained the temporal power to enforce his will was a justification to destroy people and societies he couldn't convince through the use of reason.
The editors of the New York Times, who are unable to engage Pope Benedict's statements on the profound level he always occupies, are using a kind of low-minded and unreasoning force on him - distorting his words and avoiding acknowledging what he actually said in full context. They do the same thing with Christianity all the time. They not only deny that faith is based on peaceful reason, they refuse to reason peacefully. They must really hate Christianity with the deepest animus to side, as they do here, with a philosophy of force that led to the sacking of Constantinople and planes flying into the World Trade Center towers.

Will Barrett

Let's start rioting in the streets and burning the NYTimes.

St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse

The fine art of Reading Comprehension is something that needs to be revived. I imagine that the Holy Father will start dumbing down his lectures, for the benefit of NYTimes writers and Imams. Or maybe not.

" We not troglodytes! You take back bad words, or we smash things."


By "philosophy of force" I, of course, meant the later changes Muhammed made to his earlier philosophy of nonviolent presuasion.

Steve C. - when Amy wrote "Please send me links to the NYTimes editorials calling on Muslim leaders to offer deep and persuasive apologies for pervasive, virulent and demonic anti-Semitic speech and action endemic in the Middle East", she did so knowing that there won't be any such editorials to be found in the NY Times archives. Why? Because they are more offended by Christianity than anything else in the history of the world.


"The voice of Pius XII is a lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe this Christmas..He is about the only ruler left on the Continent of Europe who dares to raise his voice at all". (Editorial, the New York Times, Dec 25, 1941).

"A full explanation of Pope Pius' conduct is needed..It now falls to John Paul and his successors to take the next step toward full acceptance of the Vatican's failure to stand squarely against the evil that swept across Europe" (Editorial, the New York Times, Mar 18, 1998).

From Kenneth Woodward's "In Defense of Pope Pius XII"


Frankly I see no reason to be angry at all -- this is a cause for celebration!

I joined the Church right before JPII died, and I did so with the somewhat pessimistic expectation that the next pontiff would be a wishy-washy clown who would fall all over himself trying to water down the truth so as to make it acceptable to the Thought Police. There have, after all, been bad popes before; I reckoned it was just my duty to have a stiff upper lip and respect the position rather than the man.

Off the top of my head I can't think of any occasion where I was more happy to be proved wrong.

Let the New York Times condemn the Pope; that's a *good* thing. Let there be no doubt about who is for Arthur & who is for Modred.

Like Han Solo, I prefer a straight fight to all this sneakin' around.

chris K

The NYT has now and for such a long time been speaking through the same "spirit" that spoke through Pilate ... asking "what is Truth" and, like him, following through in cowardice against the very evidence. Look around the world today - the pure hatred being exercised daily through that same "spirit". It's simply diabolical and human beings as ever are the pawns being used through their own culpable ignorance and fear. When, in the rare moments that Truth IS spoken it's like that sword that defines the lines between good and evil. The times are such today that that line is becoming more clearly defined and the pope is asking people to freely use their reason to decide on just what side they stand ... life (love) or death (hatred, violence) before it's too late for all. All we have to do is look to the horrific enslavement of human beings - women and children - in Africa alone to reflect back to the whole world just who it is that spread(s) by the sword the faith he preach(es). Is it not then that mirror of Truth that the pope holds without guile that is the real cause for the evil response by those who see their very own reflection? But, it is instead the messenger who must negate the reflection, and he must do so ... how else but by threat of that same "sword of faith". Incredible!

For many Muslims, holy war — jihad — is a spiritual struggle, and not a call to violence. And they denounce its perversion by extremists, who use jihad to justify murder and terrorism.

And just where are those MANY?? I caaan't hear you!!!


TRD writes:

The NYT is carrying out a diversionary maneuver. They recognize that it is the falsity of their ideology of secular relativism that is the main object of the Pope's teaching. They try to deflect this truth by pretending outrage at the "offense" offered to another party.

This strikes me as the most plausible reading of the Times editorial. The editors are not stupid or incapable of understanding the Pope's main point, which is really to expose Western secularism's (and this includes both present-day political liberalism and present-day political neo-conservativism) inability to deal with the challenge posed by 21st century Islam.

The New York Times follows the liberal line of appeasement; the conservatives want to spread American political and economic culture in its thinnest rendition to the peoples of the Middle East and Asia. Neither position has adequate spiritual resources (or even an adequate understanding of spiritual resources) either to challenge Islam or to carry on a fruitful conversation with Islam.

That's the Holy Father's message to the West, and the New York Times doesn't like it.

Will Barrett

In defense of the scare quotes, the Pope's talk uses them around faith and reason.

Ellie in T.O.

You know what really gets to me about all this? The Pope will likely be criticized by the SAME PEOPLE who, for instance, recently praised Ronnie Howard's "big steel balls" for daring to provoke Christians (gasp!) by filming the Da Vinci Code. (I mean like, wow, the COURAGE of the man!!)



Three questions for the Times:

1. Has the editorialist actually read the whole speech?

2. If a party believes itself to have been insulted, have they in fact been insulted?

3. Is it now the rule that any discussion of Islam must abjure intellectually provocative statements?

As a long time NYT subscriber who has just sent them a cancellation notice, allow me to answer.

1. No.

2. You assume that there is something called objective truth. The Times knows the opposite is true. What counts is how people it likes feel.

3. The NYT knows that Christians and Jews can be insulted with impunity. If Muslims feel they have been insulted, they will riot, burn, and murder.

william j.

Winners are Osama, Rove and the msm in this yada, yada blow up. The Pope's words are being used by Muslims to secure their own base. Carl gets more catholic votes, and the msm gets more print and air time. Stir that pot because everything is politics, money and power. It has nothing to do with honest dialogue and understanding. The Pope should not apologize for being used by others.

Little Gidding

I'm with TRD and Alfredo. The NYTimes likely does recognize somehow the actual point of the speech and sees its own fin de milenium liberalism exposed for what it is, and so, incapable or unwilling to engage the argument of the speech, simply tries to humiliate its source and concurrently to pat itself on the back for demonstrating its wonderful fairness to Islam.


The Holy Father is human. He erred. He should apologize. Our world is in desperate need for peacemakers. When all the rhetoric and philosophical tirade is settled for and against the Pope, for and against Islam, we have to face up to reality. The Holy Father is a Head of State. That is how the Moslems perceive what he says. World leaders have to be careful not to stir up trouble. The Pope did just that. So now he owes the Moslems a SINCERE apology. That is what we do when we injure our fellow man. We apologize. He doesn’t even have to turn the other cheek. He did the slapping. All he has to say is “I made a mistake, I am sorry, forgive me” Then go to confession. If Mel could do it, surely the Pope can do it.


Those fools at the Times obviously did not read the text of the speech and therefore missed some salient points, including:

-Benedict was looking at the dialogue as a whole, to begin a discussion on Greek philosophy and its interaction with the Gospel message

-Benedict also noted that the dialogue was not fully complete, as it is clear the Emperor is way more verbose than the Persian intellectual.


If there's a silver lining to all this, it's probably that it's revealing who's where's on what. We are finding out who's willing to stand up and actually criticize ("fraternally correct") religions who incorporate violence as part of their faith. And we're also finding out (not that we really didn't know) who in the West is willing to sell out their Christian roots. We are seeing the wages of multiculturalism, also. Perhaps for those with eyes to see, it will be the long-awaited wake-up call.

By the way, Oriana Fallaci died and she didn't lack for courage, either.


"The world listens carefully to the words of any pope."

Unless they happen to involve birth control, abortion, living in loving service, promoting peace, attending Mass (or practicing your faith life), treating people with equal dignity, practicing self-denial, acknowledging personal pride...I could go on.

If the Pope speaks the Truth, he is either an abomination, or a millstone around "progress" and "liberality."

The one thing that pleases me somewhat about this, is this bias is only generating a little bit more US TV news coverage than the fact that he was wearing a saturna the other day. Make that your happy thought.


"All he has to say is “I made a mistake, I am sorry, forgive me” Then go to confession. If Mel could do it, surely the Pope can do it."

Exactly what Sin did the Holy Father commit? Did he drink a few too many Gin and Tonics before making the speech?

Or, is it in you estimation that speaking the Truth which may "offend" someone a Mortal Sin? Since when do lay catholics sit in judgement of the Holy Father?

Donald R.McClarey

"He should apologize."

I agree. Perhaps it should go something like this, "I am sorry that many of your leaders wish to keep the Islamic world in a perpetual boil of hate against all non-Muslims. I am sorry that too many adherents of Islam believe that hate and calls for death are proper responses to any statements that may be considered even tangentially critical of Islam. I am deeply sorry that it is all too likely that a few adherents of Islam will use my comments, which they probably have not read, as an excuse for murder."


The New York Times is officially irrelevant.

This rubbish is almost unworthy of comment -- like demanding that the Czechs apologize for offending Hitler. Disgraceful.


"Our world is in desperate need for peacemakers."

Exactly what we need. One more spineless Neville Chamberlain.


What sins?

Enticing hatred,
Giving ammunition to violence,
Stirring up trouble,
Denigrating one’s fellow man,
Exciting religious intolerance – just read the previous responses – all of them are full of menace toward the Moslems – a full display of the very thing Moslems are accused of.

Sin begets sin. Sow the seed of disagreement and more disagreement will follow. The Holy Father should be a peacemaker, not a troublemaker. The Holy Father should clean up his own house first before airing the dirty laundry of another. Step out of your soapboxes for a moment: it is tragic for a Pope to loose his credibility. Will they still listen to him when he calls for peace?

Instead of this “get behind him” rhetoric; pray for him so he will do the right thing. He just might witness to Catholics and to non Catholics alike how a noble man overcomes his ego in true humility. I venture a bet if he did that, the response would be positive and it would open the door for some bridge building. John Paul II pray for us!


Here is my letter to the Times:

It is disturbing that the Times’ editorial board did not pick up that the presentation of the quotation from the Byzantine emperor does not itself present the emperor in the best light. In fact, in the German, the Pope’s language makes clear that he considers that the emperor was baiting rashly for a fight. It seems the Times’ editorial board is likewise primed to bait Benedict XVI, in this case for the Times’ own purposes. It is interesting that the Times’ editorial board names as “most provocative” that which is incidental in the Pope’s lecture, while the Times is appears more provoked by the truly provocative purpose of the address, so provocative for the Times’ editorial board that it feels compelled to employ the tiresome device of putting “faith and reason” in scare quotes, as if their reality were questionable. What universe does the Times inhabit where that reality is questionable? It is also intriguing how the Times explains that violent jihad is an aberration, but the point of the editorial appears motivated by fear of stoking of violent jihad, without acknowledging the irony of the violent reactions to the lecture. Perhaps the Times’ editorial board could take care of its own addled sense of reason before lecturing the Pope’s much more lucid, if provocative, theses? When will the Times offer a “deep and persuasive” apology for its obvious inability to read a complex theological lecture well? If the Times intends to remain a paper of record, as it were, it should seek to understand more before reaching for its tired flog-the-pope trope in its editorial pages. In the end, what the editorial betrays is that the Times is afraid this pope is exposing to the light of day things that the Times would prefer remain unquestioned. In that respect, the Pope appears to be much more a champion of reason than its erstwhile defenders in Times Square. Here, the Pope plays the role of Galileo, and the Times plays the role of inquisitors demanding a recantation.



You have got to be kidding. First, the pope committed no sin. That you do not understand that is sad.

Second, the pope is desperately trying to help educate all of us to reality and how to stand before it. Not just this speech, but all of his pontificate. If we must wait until all will lovingly accept that education without complaint, we will be waiting until the day Jesus returns.

Sooner or later we are all going to have to own up to the problems we have in this world. And one of them is Islam. There is something dreadfully wrong in its heart and only the blind don't see it. Sadly, many choose to rip out their eyes so that they don't have to see it.

But then again, intelligence can rarely be expected in comboxes. I shouldn't be surprised.



What you propose is not peacemaking but a simulacrum thereof. It's making nice, not making peace; it is "peace" according to the world, not Christ. It is interesting that Jesus always avoided making nice. And I say this as someone who is not a Benedict XVI or JP2 fan, as it were.


I don't know about you, but I am Catholic, so I don't need the Holy Father's teaching me about Mohamed. If you mean I am not having the intelligence of a political bully, I agree with you. I don't have that and I don't it.

Jesus went on a rampage in the Temple, not in the Palace. You should know the difference.

Joseph R. Wilson

"The Holy Father is a Head of State. That is how the Moslems perceive what he says. World leaders have to be careful not to stir up trouble."--Muriel

Remember that Pope Benedict XVI is ex officio a Head of State, but that most importantly he is the Vicar of Christ, in the See of St. Peter, and that he has a much higher purpose than serving as political head of the Vatican (I don’t like the idea of Pope as politician). I will be surprised, and disappointed, if he apologizes in the manner in which you suggest.

As one of the posters possibly maligned as "full of menace" I would like to lovingly correct you, and let you know that I'm not in any way advocating violence or menace toward Muslim's of good will.

I do, however, like to try to remember that our Lord said, “I have not come to send peace, but a sword.” I reason that our Lord in no way meant that we are free to impose our will in religious matters by violence or threats of violence. I trust that our Holy Father will make this matter more clear to all people of good will who are willing to invest the time to understand his profound teaching.


Now let me correct your fundamentalist interpretation Joseph. Jesus was NOT talking about actual warfare.

Joseph R. Wilson

Thank you for your comment Muriel. Please re-read my note, and know that I am far from a fundamentalist (I'm leaning more toward Method C, though I'm strictly an amateur). I think that we are on the same side.


Again Muriel, what explicit Sin as defined by The Church did The Holy Father commit? There's is nothing in your above cited list that he is guilty of. There is nothing in his speech that contained anything with which you accuse him of.

There is nothing that the Pope can say own do to defuse the hate and violent eschatology that permeates The Religion of Peace. We are all infidels in their eyes who must be either vanquished or enslaved.


"I don't know about you, but I am Catholic, so I don't need the Holy Father's teaching me about Mohamed. If you mean I am not having the intelligence of a political bully, I agree with you. I don't have that and I don't it."

That's the best head in sand response I have read in a long time.

Political bully? Come on, Muriel. You've got to be better than that.

Blind Squirrel

Ladies, gents...stop feeding the troll.


Let me explain JP.

Tim publicly ridicules Tom’s most sacred prophet so Tom with righteous indignation goes on rampage and does some damage. You think Tim is not – at least – partially responsible?

Now consider this: Tim is a public figure and people pay attention to what he says. Some people believe him, some do not. But everyone listens to what he has to say just about any topic.

Now take this a step further. Arguments are started up between those who believe Tim and those who do not believe Tim. Some of those arguments get nasty and people get hurt. You think Tim is not –at least – partially responsible?

Not to mention the bloodless arguments between those who believe what Tim has to say. (I guess that would be us) True, Jesus never said what ad hominem attacks deserve – ‘come now you can do better than that” or “stop feeding the troll” – but my guess is they would qualify under calling someone “you fool”… oh and BTW Jesus had specific opinions regarding that. ;-)


We need a peacemaker Pope. The Pope cannot be peacemaker unless he has the respect of the whole world. When I say peacemaking, I mean just that. I don’t mean political correctness or as someone suggested “playing nice”. There are many conflicts in the world, there is much suffering in some parts and the victims of these conflicts need somebody to speak for them. Now how do you think a pope who can be accused of religious bigotry will fare in this role?

I shall now retire to my “combox” as I have much combixing kind of things to do. Peace.

Andrea Harris

Er, Muriel? The pope didn't "ridicule" anyone. What he did was openly talk about something that no one else wants to because they are afraid of setting off the crazy aunts in the world's attic -- the Muslim nutcases. You sound like the sort of person who would rather be lied to than have an uncomfortable truth exposed. Well, you go ahead and keep on deluding yourself; I don't think this pope is doormat material.


At the risk of troll-feeding, the obvious should be noted in the record that the cleansing of the Temple is hardly the only case of Jesus confronting people with hard-edged sayings and mirrors -- the Gospels are replete with confrontations. What is much more notable in the Gospels is the complete absence of making nice by Jesus. The making-nice Jesus is not about making peace the Christian way. Even Francis of Assisi was dramatically more confrontational (especially vs Islam) than the Pope in his address.

It should also be noted that the desire to make nice also played into the abuse scandal; it's precisely that dynamic that allows abuse to thrive.

In therapeutic contexts, the make-nice approach is usually associated with co-dependancy and dysfunctinal behavior.


"but my guess is they would qualify under calling someone “you fool”… oh and BTW Jesus had specific opinions regarding that"

--The Sacred Word: O foolish (sometimes trans. stupid) Galatians! (Paul, Letter to the Galatians 3.1)

--Why he said it: Because the Galatians were silly enough to let non-Christian teachers convince them that they had to do what magesterial authority had already agreed they didn't have to (namely get circumsised and follow dietary laws).

--"You brood of vipers!" (Mt 3:7)
--Why Jesus said it: He was warning against external acts that do not befit internal dispositions.

There are others. It seems the Bible doesn't have a whole lot to say against calling people fools, or proponents of evil for that matter.

Re: "I don't know about you, but I am Catholic, so I don't need the Holy Father's teaching me about Mohamed.
--If you are a Catholic, then you very much DO need the Pope's teaching...and the bishops. Vatican I (definition of papal infallibility), Vatican II (definition of collegiality), St. Basil "On the Holy Spirit" (excellent teaching of magesterium and Tradition in the Catholic faith within this beautiful book), and a whole host of other sources.


Oops. Before anyone jumps on me, I don't mean to state that this speech of Pope Benedict's is infallible teaching because its a speech by the Pope. Rather, I meant to point to the reasoning behind papal infallibility and collegiality as proof that the primary duty of ecclesial ministers is to teach the faith to their flock.
Mea culpa.

Dennis Martin

It is a historical fact that Islam up to 1391 contributed nothing new except making conversion by force the centerpiece of a religion. No world religion before that time had made this the center.

Islam after it settled down did produce admirable cultural monuments, but which of them were original? They were borrowed. The emperor's speech in the 1390s was historically accurate. To point out this historical fact is not ridicule or sin.

It is an act of enormous courage. Only if Islam--not just the Islamo-fascist radicals, but Islam as a whole, confronts the centrality of brutal violence in its rise to the world stage, in which it is unique among all the major world religions today, will Islam ever become a religion of peace.

But the NYTimes will never acknowledge the historical fact involved here and neither will any of the other Christian-haters of our age. They will attempt to claim history on behalf of their campaign to demonize Christianity.

Since the Christian-haters, both secular Western and Islamist control the channels of information, what Benedict has little hope of being heard for what it is. But it is better to speak the truth than cower before those who depend on brutal intimidation and violence to carry the day.

He has nothing to apologize for. He has exposed the hypocrisy and brutality of both secular West and Islamist extreme and center. We have to hope and pray that the Islamic center will come to its senses, as Benedict asked them to. If so, all of humanity will owe them a great debt of gratitude.

But the ball is in the court of the Islamic center. I'm not holding my breath but I must, am obligated to hope.

Andrea Harris

Is it just me or is the following statement by Muriel -- "I don't know about you, but I am Catholic, so I don't need the Holy Father's teaching me about Mohamed" -- hilarious? Muriel just said she's more Catholic than the pope!

Fabio P.Barbieri

Exactly. Muriel: "I don't need the Pope's advice, but he sure as Heck needs mine!" Who said that this discussion was being too serious? Send in the clown!


Note the circumstances of the Byzantine Emperor's remarks. He is at his military camp outside Constantinople - his capital city is under seige by Turkish Muslims. He is trying to have a civilized rational discussion with a Muslim (one of the enemy) about the very thing that is threatening his 1000+ yr empire and capital. Perhaps he was trying to find some way that the two religions could live in real peace.

I wish we could read the rest of the conversation in that book. I wonder if in modern lingo the Emperor is trying to say: Why are you attacking us and saying that God approves of this violence? Isn't that what all of us in the US are wondering today since 9/11?

I.E. Explain yourself: why the heck are you attacking us and saying that your God wants you to do it to spread his faith?

Benedict wants the Muslim world to think about that and give us a thought-out answer so that we can enter a dialogue about our differences based on reason. If the Muslim world can't do that, then how the heck can we make real "peace" and avoid all-out clash of civilizations?

I was at an ecumenical gathering right after 9/11 where Bishop Wilton Gregory reminded all of us (Protestant, Jew, Muslim and Catholic) that you have to know your own religion really well before you can have fruitful dialogue with folks of another faith. In other words, just "making nice" without addressing the nitty gritty differences is superficial, meaningless and won't last. It's deferring settlement of (or acceptance of) differences until another day and that day may never come.

We can't have that much-needed dialogue with the Muslim world if they can't articulate their faith on a rational basis.

AND something the Emperor didn't have to face - the majority of his own civilization thinking that such discussions were irrational and worthless. Today we have most of both sides unwilling and/or unprepared for the needed dialogue.

chris K

The Holy Father should clean up his own house first before airing the dirty laundry of another.

Such naivete! Muriel, you definitely are unacquainted with this particular "hood"!! How that is possible in these past 5 years for anyone I cannot imagine. The smelly hampers have now been opened just about everywhere for most of us. Now you could chance a little visit for real time experience sake and risk separating head from torso after announcing the same as you have here ... that you are Catholic ... I wouldn't if I were you though! Just where is the bigotry you mention when one honors the best of a world religion and dishonors that religion's real enemy??

Jesus, (the Word, btw) said "think not that I (the Word and Truth) came to bring peace on earth; I came not to bring peace, but the sword." Now, if you are desperately afraid of speaking a little too loudly amid the already established din and risking merely repeats of what others already know through violent experience ... without any nudging from those who tend to disagree, btw .... then you have seemingly joined the enormous amount of those appeasers still wishing to be considered merely civilized but in reality appear to be fully terrorized ... simply adding another notch of encouragement on the suicide bomber's dynamite!

Now if only the courageous could also address that other virgin question it would offer a powerful amount of help to a lot of young fellas before it's too late ... and they reach that disillusionment of false hope a leeetle too late! Oh, I'm sorry ... shhhh ... I forgot. Mustn't give advice to one's brother ... especially when it's for his own good.


"What sins?

"Enticing hatred,
Giving ammunition to violence,
Stirring up trouble,
Denigrating one’s fellow man,
Exciting religious intolerance – just read the previous responses – all of them are full of menace toward the Moslems – a full display of the very thing Moslems are accused of."

I suppose calling a murderer a murder might entice hated. Should we therefore fail to point out that all of the 9/11 hijackers were Muslims?
What ammunition was given to them?
What about the multi-national force in Lebanon, a force I would remind you which was part of a multi-nationalwhich was part of a UN brokered cease fire. A force of peacemakers.
I feel no menence toward any member of Islam who is not engaged in open, active warfare against my friends, my fellow Christians and my country.
I Denigrating no one. If someone decides to believe that they can ensure eternal marriage for their ancestors by performing a marriage ceremony with their spouse or someone else today; or they believe that humanity was brought to Earth by an alien in a flying saucer who exploded nuclear bombs killing billions, whose souls now inhabit all those alive, my response would be to dialog with them, and try to convince them that they are mistaken in their belief. In charity I would explain why I believe that their beliefs are not acurate. If they won't listen to me then I'll pray for them. I will not denigrate their beliefs.
It seems to me that stirring up trouble is a requirement for a Christian. Christ strirred up trouble by calling out the religious leaders of his day, the wealthy and even the Romans.

Mark 2:24
At this the Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?"
27 Then he said to them, "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
28 That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."

Mathew 19:23
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.
24 Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

John 19:10
So Pilate said to him, "Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?"
11 Jesus answered (him), "You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin."

Sounds like someone who tells the truth and stirs up trouble to me.


I think Jesus was really using the Pope's mouth to speak a word to the dead. After all, He has no hands but ours, no mouth but the Popes!

God Bless,



So if I mention the fact that my neighbour is a vicious bully who beats his wife to the police, and they investigate but can't gather enough evidence to convict, and he comes home and beats his wife into a coma, I am at least partially responsible?

This is Stockholm syndrome thinking.



Curious statement by the New York Times, that "for many Muslims, holy war-jihad means a spiritual struggle and not a call to violence."
Unfortunately for many Muslims, including the President of Iran, holy war means spiritual struggle by means of the sword, if necessary.
I watched some of the events on EWTN on the Pope's visit to Germany, and when I saw on this blog a picture of a Muslim protester holding up the sign " Crucify the Pope", I thought the New York Times editorial board could have been pictured alongside that Muslim protester. Pope Benedict is a courageous man and Christian; I cannot say the same for the editorial board of the New York Times. How the seasons have changed: where were they when the Pope spoke out for the Muslim and Christian civilian populations of Lebanon?

Spirit of Vatican II

Ratzinger has said very fine things to and about Muslims over the years. I cannot understand why he would make such a gaffe. But he has a record of making statements that drive people to fury, e.g. "Buddhism is a kind of spiritual auto-eroticism" or when gays who affirm their orientation and ask civil protection for "actions to which there is no conceivable right" draw violent reactions "neither the church nor society should be surprised". Sometimes he explains his remarks, as in the second document on Liberation Theology modifying the first one (but given no media exposure) or as in the qualification that it is EUROPEAN Buddhists, not all Buddhists, who are spiritual auto-eroticists.

Rigidity and over-confidence are part of the problem, another is the narrow gauge of his theology, as Hans Kung, author of a recent huge best-selling tome on Islam, points out in The Times.

Spirit of Vatican II

Here are Kung's apt and mild remarks:


Spirit of Vatican II

And if the New York Times (American Democrat drivel for the most part to be sure) is so stupid, how come the Pope DID issue an apology?

Spirit of Vatican II

And if the New York Times (American Democrat drivel for the most part to be sure) is so stupid, how come the Pope DID issue an apology?

Hung Doan

There the NYTimes goes again! It's outrageous how the media have jumped on the bandwagon and blasts the pope as seems to be the fashionable thing to do. He's an academic, get over your own inferiority complex. BTW, will anyone offer a rebuttal in the NYTimes? Darn this PC culture of "tolerance."

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