Monday, October 09, 2006

What Is
The Pope Trying
To Accomplish?

The Pope has made some changes to the text of the speech which so offended the Muslim world:

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI has taken another step to placate anger in the Islamic world over his remarks on holy war, making additions to his original text affirming that a quotation from a 14th century Byzantine emperor was not his personal opinion.

The Sept. 12 speech that set off protests around the Muslim world said the pope intended to "supply a subsequent version of this text, complete with footnotes." He has done that in recent days, with the English version released on the Vatican's Web site Monday.

The original speech, given at Germany's Regensburg University where he once taught, quoted the emperor as saying: "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

The original said the emperor's remark was made "somewhat brusquely." In the new version, it says it was made with "a brusqueness that we find unacceptable."

Benedict added in a footnote: "In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, thus arousing understandable indignation. I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Quran, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion."

He said he cited the text as part of an examination of the "relationship between faith and reason."

Once again, this is another non-apology apology. The Pope's is saying the brusqeness was unacceptable not that the Byzantine Emperor's assertion was unacceptable.

One has to wonder if the Pope intends to repeatedly provoke the Muslim world. If he really intended to see that the anger would die down, wouldn't it be better for him to just shut up and let it blow over?