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September 16, 2006

Comments

kathy

Some West Bank Muslims were so upset at Pope B-16s insinuation that historically Muslims sometimes convert with the sword, that they went out and firebombed two Christian churches in Nablus, just to prove him wrong!


bobo

B16 spoke in German. To be clear about the important nuances, I listened to the recording on the vatican radio website, which is accompanied by a text which differs slightly from the official vatican website text, noted as follows:
I've italicized what wasn't in the radio vatican transcript. I've put in bold, what B16 added verbally to the prepared text. (I should add that German is not my first language, but the recording is quite clear). I've capitalized (a) where Benedict verbally stressed a word and (b) where he once again emphasised that he was citing the Byzantine emperor.

Ohne sich auf Einzelheiten wie die unterschiedliche Behandlung von „Schriftbesitzern“ und „Ungläubigen“ einzulassen, wendet er sich in erstaunlich SCHROFFER (uns ueberraschend schroffer) Form ganz einfach mit der zentralen Frage nach dem Verhältnis von Religion und Gewalt überhaupt an seinen Gesprächspartner.
Er sagt: ich zitiere „Zeig mir doch, was Mohammed Neues gebracht hat und da wirst du SO SAGT ER nur Schlechtes und Inhumanes finden wie dies, daß er vorgeschrieben hat, den Glauben, den er predigte, durch das Schwert zu verbreiten“.Der Kaiser begründet nachdem er so zugeschlagen hat dann eingehend, warum Glaubensverbreitung durch Gewalt widersinnig ist.

Joan

I think you're right, Amy. I am in awe of what the Pope has done here. Are we doomed to dhimmitude, or are we finally going to stand up and demand that Muslims act like adults and not resort to violence when someone says something they don't like to hear, which, by the way, happens to be true? I hope the Pope's speech, and the Vatican's brilliant non-apology, will spark more than Muslim outrage. I hope the West will wake up to what is really happening here.

Yootikus

Critical thinking, discussions of history, and philosophical analysis is not allowed, apparently, when it comes to Islam.

Replace "Islam" with "racial differences" or "differences between the sexes" and you're on equally solid footing with this statement. There is much about which we cannot reason together today.

What is "truth" today? That which is most vigorously defended by the most hysterical, the most deeply offended, or the most willing to employ violence or demand heads, literally and figuratively speaking.

Helen

Yikes, Amy. I was mostly with you until the last paragraph.
There's a lot of very deep poverty in the Muslim world and limited education among the deeply poor and invincibly ignorant; they are the ones with the laughably mistranslated signs; they are the ones being manipulated. By their news outlets, yes, but by our news outlets also. I'm not defending them - just saying that "outrage" isn't uniformly evident throughout the Muslim world.
I'd like to note that one could insert the words "enlightenment-based" here: "When a country with a Islam-based system of law forbids or limits the practice" and "deeply held religious belief" for "non-Muslim faiths"...that is compulsion."
Hard to follow, maybe. That is, our mainstream media and secular culture punishes deeply held belief and we end up with jurists and senators who feel compelled to speak and act in ways not consistent with their beliefs. It's SO MUCH bigger than Islam.

Mark A.

Amy, seeing the violent reaction to the pope's remarks, do you think the professional pope-bashers are reconsidering their attacks on Pius XII?

Veronica

Very well said, Amy, thanks again for another thoughtful post. Quite a refreshing change from Jimmy Akin's post about the same subject, kind of implying that Pope Benedict was inciting violence on purpose by inserting an 'inflammatory line' in his speech and making a huge 'gaffe' that could get him killed. All this, coming from a Catholic apologist that should know our pope WAY better than that. Shameful.

Doug Barber

I agree with Amy in believing that this entire brouhaha is "not completely unintentional".

It boggles the mind to think that it never occurred to Pope Benedict that his citation of the Byzantine emperor's remarks might spark a furor akin to the cartoon riots.

This Pope is well known for his razor-sharp intellect and his willingness to state politically incorrect truths with startling lucidity - I first encountered this many years ago, to my delight, in his interviews in the book *The Ratzinger Report*.

The analogy some are drawing between Benedict's stance toward Islamism and John Paul's stance toward communism has much to recommend it, IMHO.

Tom Mc Laughlin

I have read the whole talk and as a Catholic I am offended too. The quote about Mohamed and evil has nothing to do with the topic of the talk. It is about reason and belief in God. If you are going to point out Muslim violence you must also mention the centuries of Christian violence. We have seldom been reasonable. The pope deserve all the criticism he gets. He should fully apologise and admit that Catholics have been as guilty of as much violence as Muslims.

Lily

Slightly off topic, but doesn't the "art work" on the Pope's picture look like pre-schooler work?

Lily

Not the content (evil), but the skill level?

Joan

He should fully apologise and admit that Catholics have been as guilty of as much violence as Muslims.

Another fine example of American education and critical thinking in action.

David La May

I want to address both Tom (writing above) and Amy (the blogger). Amy, I agree with some of what you said, however, the point which Benedict is making is a theological point. Not an historical one. I double-checked Benedict's words just to be certain of this. Benedict (an academic theologian) is separating the Christian God who is Logos (reason) as opposed to the Islamic Allah who is "absolutely transcendent" and therefore not rational. Benedict XVI is making a point which both Christian and Islamic scholars should understand as being true. Benedict is not making an historical point. I think that Tom points out exactly why an historical point would be inappropriate. Historically, there has been violence in the name of Christianity as well as Islam. However, in theological terms, Christianity cannot justify it's violence while Islam can. I hope this makes sense.

TerryC

Way too pat Yootikus. I don't recall anyone firebombing Ms. maganzine or Playboy. Certianly women have been exploited in many areas of the world, but seldom have they reacted to that exploitation with violence. South African's blacks have, geneally speaking shown great restraint in the post Apathide period.
To compare the systematically ingrained violence of forced conversion, Imman sactioned death threats and firebmbing of Christian churches to the infrequent violence sometimes engended by race relations (most of which was perpetrated by whites on blacks) trivializes that violence.
As for truth. Truth is truth. Leave relativism to the secularist.

Alfredo

What is astonishing about this - or perhaps not, to those who have been paying attention - is that critical thinking, discussions of history, and philosophical analysis is not allowed, apparently, when it comes to Islam.

Yootikus is exactly right. When you cannot have honest thinking and respectful conversations about controversial subjects even at our universities, why should we expect journalists to do any better? It's the world we live in, to be sure, but the Holy Father doesn't need to apologize to anyone.

Doug Barber

This is interesting, from psychiatry:
------------
The important differences between narcissism and the antisocial personality disorder are:

Inability or unwillingness to control impulses (AsPD);

Enhanced lack of empathy on the part of the AsPD;

Inability to form relationships, not even narcissistically twisted relationships, with other humans;

Total disregard for society, its conventions, social cues and social treaties.

As opposed to what Scott Peck says, narcissists are not evil – they lack the intention to cause harm. As Millon notes, certain narcissists "incorporate moral values into their exaggerated sense of superiority. Here, moral laxity is seen (by the narcissist) as evidence of inferiority, and it is those who are unable to remain morally pure who are looked upon with contempt." (Millon, Th., Davis, R. - Personality Disorders in Modern Life - John Wiley and Sons, 2000)

Narcissists are simply indifferent, callous and careless in their conduct and in their treatment of their fellow humans. Their abuse of others is off-handed and absent-minded, not calculated and premeditated like the psychopath's.

---------

I would suggest that Islamists (a class which does not include all Muslims) are akin to those with antisocial personality disorder, while Western secularists (some of whom profess to be Catholic) are akin to narcissists.

I'm not really a big fan of using the tenuous science of psychology to interpret history, but every now and then the effort does seem to elicit a little insight.

Donald R.McClarey

What this really all comes down to is freedom. Jihadist thugs are attempting, with some success, to cow the rest of the world into self-censorship of anything that could be considered even mildly critical of Islam. The West must not bow to the tyranny of fanatics who threaten death to impose their will. I agree with Patrick Henry that liberty is more precious than life, and I will not allow the jihadists to hold sway over the world that my children will live in.

Malachi Martin

"The pope deserve all the criticism he gets. He should fully apologise and admit that Catholics have been as guilty of as much violence as Muslims."

Catholic Bigot Alert!

Yootikus

The point is what you can and can't apply reason and logic to in public, Terry, not what engenders actual violence. Re-read what I said, then Google "Lawrence Summers on women and science" and "Rush Limbaugh on Donovan McNabb." Better yet, go into your nearest mixed-crowd gathering and state the empirically proven facts that the number-one predictor of criminality among black juveniles is not white oppression but rather fatherless homes -- and that the rate of out-of-wedlock births and single-parent homes among African-Americans is through the roof. (I don't have the exact percentage at my fingertips, but I believe it has topped 80%.)

The underlying point I'm making is that you can't help people who refuse to stop blaming others for their failures and refuse to even acknowledge the facts about themselves that could help them better themselves, if addressed with reason leading emotion rather than the other way around. White and Western guilt helps no one, least of all the groups being coddled by it. Shelby Steele is very eloquent on this. Check him out here

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008852

and here

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008318

and here

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110007457

Doug Barber

It would certainly be a shame if the religious and moral leaders of the West became ashamed to point out that we are offended by people who fly airplanes full of civilians into office buildings full of civilians, and that we are offended by people who post to the web videos of captives being beheaded by people who say, as they work the knife, "God is great!"

MaryBeth

Amy,
Don't you recall July 2005?
http://www.asianews.it/dos.php?l=en&dos=58&art=3788
From asianews, July 26,2005:

Yesterday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry distributed a note to all Israeli newspapers, in an unprecedented attack against Pope Benedict XVI. The following is an AsiaNews translation from Hebrew of the Israeli note:

“To: Editorial Offices

“The Ambassador of the Vatican has been summoned today, July 25, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and anger was expressed before him vis-à-vis the words of Pope Benedict XVI in his Sunday sermon on July 24, in which he condemned the recent terror attacks ‘that occurred in various countries, among which Egypt, Turkey, Iraq and England’, and in an explicit manner abstained from condemning the shocking terror attack that happened in Israel last week.

“Terror deeds that strike Jews in Israel - including the attack last week that caused the murder and wounding of many adolescents and children - are being frequently condemned by the leaders of the lighted hall [sic! Editor’s note: probably a spelling error – ‘civilized world’ was likely meant]. The Pope's deliberate avoidance of condemning this latest deed cries out to heaven; beyond the moral stain that it involves, it can only be interpreted as legitimizing terror attacks against Jews. This roaring pretence by the Pope that nothing happened is made to strengthen extremist elements who oppose peace and to weaken moderates.

“We had expected the new Pope, who had given expression since the beginning of his pontificate to the importance that he attributed to the relations of the Church and the Jewish people, to have behaved differently, especially this year - 40 years after the ‘Nostra aetate’ Declaration.

“We expect now that the Pope, who has called for ‘dialogue among the three religions that recognise Abraham as their father’, condemns the terrorist attack that has cruelly stricken Jews as he has condemned other terrorist attacks.”

Please note what the Israeli Foreign Ministry said of Pope Benedict XVI: "explicit manner", "deliberate avoidance", "his offense "cries out to heaven", he has "a moral stain", his words "can only be interpreted as legitimizing terror attacks against Jews", his explanation of no slight intended is "a "roaring pretence". This was the Israeli Foreign Ministry, in a distribution to the press, not an ignoramus with poster paper and a black felt pen.
What is the connection? If you see your role as the permanently aggrieved party vis-a-vis the rest of the world and you are looking for a scrap, you could take offense at "Mary Had A Little Lamb".

PMC

John Allen on NPR this afternoon boiled this down to "what happens when a German intellectual comes up against a soundbite culture" (my paraphrase). When will the media acknowledge its complicity in "fomenting discord"? Never.

Doug Barber

Funny, I never saw a single Israeli demand that the Pope apologize in person to Israel. I never saw one burn the Pope in effigy. I don't recall a single case of Israeli citizens vandalizing Christian churches or holy sites. I don't recall any posters in the streets.

Israel had an issue with the Pope, and conducted itself like a civilized nation.

Doug Barber

PMC, if you and NPR are right, and the Pope had no idea what a furor he would cause, then the Pope has stumbled into a disaster.

I see no reason to believe that.

There are many ways to address the issue, "God is so arbitrary in Islam that he's like Calvin's god, and a theology like that is not likely to marry faith and reason."

The Pope chose to employ a statement which said that whatever is original to Muhammed is ugly. He put it in quotes. I don't think he meant to assert it, but I think he meant to toss it out for debate, in the manner of Professors.

What we are seeing now, is that what we in the West consider to be dialogue, is not possible with certain people.

Did the Pope illustrate this by accident? If so, it's an astonishing mis-step. I think it's intentional - and right.

Blind Squirrel

Oh Lord, here we go.

Is it ever not the Jews with some people?

Jason

Some West Bank Muslims were so upset at Pope B-16s insinuation that historically Muslims sometimes convert with the sword, that they went out and firebombed two Christian churches in Nablus, just to prove him wrong!

I laughed out loud when I read this. It's so bizarre and ironic that it's comical. Too bad it's real. Saturday Night Live couldn't make this stuff up.

ATW

"Israel had an issue with the Pope"

Doug & Blind: I think MaryBeth's point was that "outraged" reactions to non-outrageous remarks coming from the Vatican is nothing new and spans the spectrum of special interests. It's a strategic reaction, or a positioning reaction or sometimes just an ignorant reaction. She could have cited "outraged" mis-statements from the left at his selection or misquoting of the Vatican statement on the selection of seminariary candidates. Etc.
I think concentrating on this matter of reaction as particularly Islamic is a mistake and I think that was her intended contribution to the discussion.
After all, B16 is a very mild man. Reacting with outrage to him has to mean something other than what it usually is purported to mean.

Judica Me

Collegiality has to go. All this "dialogue-ing" with other religions needs to be booted out the window. I say, Catholics need to stand strong, but that means only on tradition. No more Koran-kissing or kow-towing to Mohammedans.

Next step, the pope needs to say loud and clear, "there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church", and then raise the drawbridge of the castle. Forty plus years of trying to get along with infidels has shown nothing but demise and despair for the Church. Not only is there no salvation outside of the Church, there is no peace on earth without the Social Reign of Christ the King.

Doug Barber

I'll let the Pope Pope! (ah ha ha, you forgot that "Pope" was a verb, since that Protestant said, "This guy really knows how to Pope!")

I will endeavor to listen and learn, from what this Pope has to say.

NAB

I am a thoroughly orthodox Catholic. I adore Pope Benedict; as pope, in his former ecclesial positions, as a fantastic writer and a speaker. So don't get mad at me.

I thought the picture (in Amy's context) was hilarious.

Why did I find it funny? I saw it for what it was--an emotional, ignorant, and self-defeating attack. I teach middle-schoolers who have done the same type things in their books with pretty much any picture regardless of who it is, not out of maliciousness, but because of hormones.

This brings me to my point. I'm not calling for an apology by the "artist" or a denouncement of him by Muslim authorities (a la the 'Danish cartoon incident).

When your method of protesting is something 12 year olds do, the rational person would have to reconsider the effect on the audience.

Doug Barber

I disagree with the notion that we should treat islamists as children. They're like children who have never been held to any standard. It's time to quit making excuses for people who take civilians hostage, cut their heads off, and post it to the net.

Mark

Many thanks to Amy for posting a link to the full text. The Pope's use of the quote was entirely appropriate.

I am reminded of the 1999 incident when an employee in the Washington, D.C., mayor's office resigned after being accused of using a racial slur. He had used the word "niggardly" during a conversation about funding. Must the Pope succumb to the same kind of dhimmitude? When will it become fashionable and appropriate to reprimand these groups that are so ready to be offended, they make ignorance and distortion their ally?

Julia

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.

Bill

Breaking News. The VAtican says Benedict 'regrets his words but offers no apology. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14861689/

NAB

RE: "I disagree with the notion that we should treat islamists as children. They're like children who have never been held to any standard. It's time to quit making excuses for people who take civilians hostage, cut their heads off, and post it to the net."

You have misunderstood my comment. I was not making an excuse or arguing we treat them like children. I was stating the superiority of the Christian response (using reason) to this radical Islamic response (insult).

To get all puffed up at something that doesn't hurt me physically, mentally, or spiritually (a stupid picture) is to play into their hands.

I have the fullness of the Truth, why should I pander to their provocations?

Tom Trevino

First off, Benedict's non-apology apology is coming off as very Clintonesque. Expect to see another one in the coming days.

Secondly, let us please stop giving a forum to the crazy extremists in the distant parts of the world who threw a petrol bomb here, or burned an effigy there (btw, i think i've seen the same effigy clip now broadcast about 20 times). But this is how our new-media age works, if you have a picture of a crazed-looking Muslim protesting, you run with it. These people do not represent the vast majority of ordinary Muslims, period.

Thirdly, its kind of funny almost how we are having this big debate over "Muslim violence" and "forced conversion", as if these were the #1 and #2 problems facing the world right now. Yes, there is a problem with radical Muslims using violent means to push their agenda, but on the worldwide scale when you actually crunch the numbers it comes down to very few at all. But it makes the Press, because the Press thrives on the Fear and Security thing we are now all living with post-911. As a poster commmented in an earlier thread, if you want to add up the numbers killed on behalf of "Christianity" or "Western civilization" over the years vs. what Islam has caused, I think we know who would be the winner in spades. Don't even go back hundreds of years, just start with last century. Thirteen hundred people just lost their lives in Lebanon over a political war of choice, but do you see people getting up in arms over this? Barely a whisper.

Fourthly, the idea that "forced conversions" is some huge issue today really is somewhat bewildering. Sure it no doubt is happening on some small scale in isolated areas, but c'mon, please tell me where this is going on in a systematic fashion that warrants all this concern?

NAB

Re: "Fourthly, the idea that "forced conversions" is some huge issue today really is somewhat bewildering. Sure it no doubt is happening on some small scale in isolated areas, but c'mon, please tell me where this is going on in a systematic fashion that warrants all this concern?"

Read the speech. Benedict was using this Emperor's example of the contradiction of forced conversions and religion to show how Christianity is rooted in rationality. That is why this topic came up. Are there forced conversions now? Yes. Were forced conversions the Pope's focus within the address? No.

This is an amazing speech and if a religious confession wants to be offended, the most obvious based on the entire speech are Reformation-based Christians NOT Muslims.

Nicholas

While not entirely connected to this topic, I thought this quote of the day from Google actually has some relevance.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
- Aristotle

Mike McG...

Just read the breaking news mentioned in Bill's alert.

Those who seem to enjoy the spectre of Muslim humiliation and forget our own bloody history, may well embarrass the pope. He knows that words have consequences; the 'you go, guy!' tenor of his 'supporters' may impress him less than we think. Provocation isn't his game.

I suspect Beneditc will disappoint the 'take no prisoners' crowd when, in time, he lets it be known that he regrets words so easily capable of disrespectful interpretation. No doubt he wishes he had framed his argument more artfully.

Richard

Hello Tom,

The quote about Mohamed and evil has nothing to do with the topic of the talk.

It has everything to do with the rest of the talk. Try reading it again.

Hello Mr. Trevino,

These people do not represent the vast majority of ordinary Muslims, period.

Maybe not.

But it also seems to be true that the vast majority of ordinary Muslims are unwilling to make it clear that this kind of behavior is unacceptable, as is the case with the vast majority of ordinary people in the West. Or in East Asia. Nor is a considerable percentage of our Christian (or Jewish) religious leaders working to foment such hate and violence.

And that most certainly *is* a current problem.

Jason

But it also seems to be true that the vast majority of ordinary Muslims are unwilling to make it clear that this kind of behavior is unacceptable, as is the case with the vast majority of ordinary people in the West.

A question I always ask myself is who are all these Muslims in Iraq who supposedly welcome the American troops and treat them with respect? These are ordinary, Arab Muslims in the thick of it all, and apparantly they respect soldiers from a Christian, western world. But they don't have a microphone in front of them, and more importantly, they live in a repressive land. If Muslims are all foaming terrorists who want to kill Christians, are these people just an anomoly? Or is the Arabic world just as complex as the western world?

Brian Day

What I don't get is, other than a few that mentioned it, rather than focusing on the words of B16, we aren't focusing on the media that got it wrong and started this.

I believe that if the headline Pope takes private time after slamming Islam was never published, we would not be discussing this.

JP

Thirdly, its kind of funny almost how we are having this big debate over "Muslim violence" and "forced conversion", as if these were the #1 and #2 problems facing the world right now.

They are if you live in Nigeria, Sudan, Burma, Thailand, the Phillipines, Tanzania, Albania, Somalia, Kenya, Croatia, Chenya,Indonesia, and India. This list doesn't include those nations in which non-Islamic minorities live in Dhiminitude. This list doesn't inlcude the over 800 communities in Europe that Interpol has labled "No-Go-Zones(areas where the local Euro civic laws hold no sway- that is, places where the police do not enter). You may think that Islamic violence is a far off thing, that is of little importance. The numbers of peacefull Muslims only represent those people who meekly submit to the Imans. That is, the majority of Muslims live in areas that are firmly in Islamic control. You will find the majority of the violence at the ever growing bloody borders of Islam. Take a trip to Europe, Indonesia, or Nigeria, and you will see the face of Islam.

You seem to totally discount the danger that Islam represents. Your moral equivalance is ridiculous when one considers that since Friday, there have been 4 churches in Gaza attacked, not to mention 4 bombings in Thailand.

JP

"s a poster commmented in an earlier thread, if you want to add up the numbers killed on behalf of "Christianity" or "Western civilization" over the years vs. what Islam has caused, I think we know who would be the winner in spades. Don't even go back hundreds of years, just start with last century."

Sure:

Iran/Iraq war 1.5 million dead
Sudan Civil war:2 million
War(s) in Somalia: 2 million
Indian/Muslim War(s) 500,000
Taliban take over Afghanistan: 100,000
Indonesia: 100,000
Wars in Nigeria, Chenya, and the Phillipines: 100,000
Palestinain/Jordanian cilvil war: 200,000
Turkey assault in Armenia: 2 million

I'm trying to remember the last time since the 30 Years War, Christian instigated violence cost anything near the 8 million deaths caused by Islam in the 20th century

Eric

An accessible transcript (English translation) would be nice.

Think for yourselves. Isn't that the whole issue here.

Tom A

JP wonders about christian instigated violence.
World War 1 was a power struggle between Christians, started by rivalries in the Balkans. It could be argued that WW1 caused WW2 because of the unjust settlement at the end.
So Christians have at least as much to answer for in the 20th century than Islam has.
"Let him who is without sin cast the first stone...."

Will

News reports, and especially headlines, seldom bother with context. Remember when the pope's predecessor made the correct observation that Buddhism embraces a negative soteriology? And the response was "how DARE he call us negative"?

Ed the Roman

You nailed it, 注册香港公司美国海外离岸公司商标.

;-)

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