Pressure on Pope to apologize to Muslims

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pressure mounted on Pope Benedict to issue a personal apology on Sunday when he makes his first public appearance since his comments about Islam sparked Muslim fury across the world.

The Vatican said on Saturday the Pope was sorry Muslims had been offended and that his comments had been misconstrued, but Muslim countries and religious groups remained angry at what they said portrayed Islam as a religion tainted with violence.

Morocco withdrew its ambassador to the Vatican, calling the Pope's remarks "offensive", while Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood -- the main opposition force in the country's parliament -- said the statement issued by the Vatican was not enough. [continued]
http://today.reuters.com/news/artic...L16121346_RTRUKOC_0_US-POPE-ISLAM.xml&src=rss

I see this as a huge opportunity for the Pope to help calm world tensions. Assuming that this is a genuine misunderstanding [and political blunder on his part], which I tend to think it is, he certainly has everyone listening now, and he might set an entirely new tone with a sincere apology and a strong message for peace. IMO, he can show the Muslim world that the major Christian religion in the world, and Bush, are not on the same side.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
siddharth
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Ivan Seeking said:
I see this as a huge opportunity for the Pope to help calm world tensions. Assuming that this is a genuine misunderstanding [and political blunder on his part], which I tend to think it is, he certainly has everyone listening now, and he might set an entirely new tone with a sincere apology and a strong message for peace.
Yeah, I agree. I think an unconditional apology from him is essential to curb the unrest. I also think it's ironic that quite a few protests against his comments were violent.
 
  • #3
Rach3
It's simple, calculated politics. Absolutely predictable that he would claim misunderstanding without apology; it presents him in the best possible light to his supporters. This is political leadership 101 here.

In particular, in quite a few peoples' worldview Mr. Benedict acted correctly and that it was the Muslims who misinterpreted or overeacted to his comments. An open apology would change this perception; so it is critical not to admit any fault, to maintiain an image of moral high ground. At the same time he must have enough tact to maintain the appearence of a peacemaker and a reconciler of religions (to Catholics), hence the very political, unapologetic "explanation" we saw.

Think of it this way: if you were a religious leader, would you rather offend your own followers or those of another religion?
 
  • #4
Ivan Seeking
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That depends on the depth and nature of one's beliefs. What you cite is not [would not be on his part] a "Christian" attitude, but we will see. In principle, his first concern should be peace.
 
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  • #5
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Rach3 said:
It's simple, calculated politics. Absolutely predictable that he would claim misunderstanding without apology; it presents him in the best possible light to his supporters. This is political leadership 101 here.

In particular, in quite a few peoples' worldview Mr. Benedict acted correctly and that it was the Muslims who misinterpreted or overeacted to his comments. An open apology would change this perception; so it is critical not to admit any fault, to maintiain an image of moral high ground. At the same time he must have enough tact to maintain the appearence of a peacemaker and a reconciler of religions (to Catholics), hence the very political, unapologetic "explanation" we saw.

Think of it this way: if you were a religious leader, would you rather offend your own followers or those of another religion?
Unfortunately I subscribe to this point of view, though naturally I'm somewhat less critical of His Holiness, as what this theory means is that he is acting in what he perceives are the interests of the Papacy and the Cardinals.
In a greater context, this can be viewed as another unwanted, though understandable, interaction between the Catholic Church and Islam.
I hope His Holiness will be prompt in putting out this ill-timed inter-cultural trail of gunpowder. It's obvious Islamic leaders won't.
 
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  • #6
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That being said, are you aware of who he was quoting and what he said?

quoting a medieval text referring to a debate between the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaeologus and a Persian Muslim.

“Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new,” he quotes the emperor as saying, “and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2361716,00.html

It was taken out of context, but it is easy to see why?

The strange thing is, that he was quoting a Byzantine emperor who at the this time were not on good terms with catholic's from Rome. They were being besieged from all sides, and the Byzantine empire was all but lost at this stage.
 
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  • #7
kyleb
He suggested that Islam is an inherently illogical and hence God-less faith and quoted Crusade propaganda in the process. I can't see what good he thinks might come of such bigoted rhetoric, but the intent is obvious from the text and hence he surely won't be making any forthright apologies about his speech.
 
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  • #8
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Anttech said:
That being said, are you aware of who he was quoting and what he said?
I have read the entire speech and tried to understand his points. It's hard for me to discern what his personal beliefs are - whether he truly believes Islam spread only by sword - which is historically untrue, Islam's greatest expansions were due to would-be Muslims surrendering without much fighting.

Anttech said:
It was taken out of context, but it is easy to see why?
His Holiness is not a fool. He no doubtedly considered the consequences, what reasons he had we can only guess.

Anttech said:
The strange thing is, that he was quoting a Byzantine emperor who at the this time were not on good terms with catholic's from Rome. They were being besieged from all sides, and the Byzantine empire was all but lost at this stage.
It is only an example of what many believe is a unique method by which Islam spread. It is unclear whether His Holiness shares the Byzantine emperor's theological interpretation.
 
  • #9
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He suggested that Islam is an inherently illogical and hence Godless faith and quoted quote Crusade propaganda in the process. I can't see what good he thinks might come of such bigoted rhetoric, but the intent is obvious from the text and hence he surely won't be making any forthright apologies about his speech.
Honestly I dont think he was inferring that, he was trying to make a point, which to be honest, has made itself.

"God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death..."
Another extract of what he actually said. The problem lies with the other quote he used,
“Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new,” he quotes the emperor as saying, “and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”
I think he was trying to make the point that Violence is not the answer to anything. But in a rather strange way, ie inferring that it is mostly Muslims that are violent these days, which is B.S.

I have just read that in Palestine some Islamic gangs have just torched Anglican Churches, they hit 5 churches and only 1 was a catholic one ..:rolleyes:
 
  • #10
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Ivan Seeking said:
In principle, his first concern should be peace.
Take a look at the Vatican's behaviour in this case: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=25988".
Israel's decision yesterday to halt construction of a large mosque in Nazareth that has been under construction right next to one of the most revered of all Christian shrines is good news to the relatively few remaining Christian residents of the Holy Land, who see themselves increasingly squeezed by the escalating Arab-Israeli conflict.

An Islamic coalition had planned to construct a mosque in the plaza designated for the use of the Basilica of the Annunciation. The basilica, first built in the fourth century by Helena, the Emperor Constantine’s mother, stands on the site where Christians believe the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary with the news that she would give birth to the Son of God.

Until yesterday's decision, the Israeli government was widely regarded as having ignored protests from the Christian residents of Nazareth and supported the Muslim plan to erect a mosque – despite the 11 other mosques in Nazareth, a town of 70,000 Muslim and Christian Arab residents.

Though the government had issued no building permits, the mosque's foundation has already been completed and concrete pillars have been erected.

Local Muslim leader Salman Abu Ahmed called the decision to halt the mosque's construction a "declaration of war" on Israel's large Muslim minority, according to an Associated Press report. "It is an irresponsible decision. If (the government) insists on its position we will not hesitate to continue building."

The Vatican and various Western Christian groups had asked the Israeli government to reexamine the plans for the mosque. In November, the Vatican had said construction of the mosque would "put this holy place in a permanent state of siege," and Pope John Paul II reportedly threatened to cancel a planned visit to the Holy Land over the issue.

The Christians' plight has deteriorated so gravely in the last three years that Pope John Paul II held a meeting in Rome in mid-December on “The Future of Christians in the Holy Land.” The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, will hold a conference in Jerusalem on Jan. 21, also addressing the future of Christians in the Holy Land. Sabbah was born in Nazareth.

Dire plight of Christians

Documented reports of Muslim attacks on pilgrims and Christian residents have aggravated an already edgy tourist economy. The Israeli consulate in New York confirmed for WorldNetDaily that hotels in Nazareth have closed due to fears of violence, among them the new Marriot and Renaissance built to house an anticipated surge of visitors for the Jubilee year, 2000. Many Christian families of Nazareth depend on the pilgrim trade for their livelihood.

Conditions in Nazareth are just one example, say Christian organizations, of the dire plight of Christians throughout the Holy Land. Robert Younes, secretary of the Holy Land Ecumenical Foundation, told WND that it is urgent that Americans assist in efforts to ensure a Christian presence in the land of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. "Jerusalem is the mother Church, it is where Christianity was born. It is unthinkable that there could be a Jerusalem without a Christian presence," he said.

The Foundation has secured support for its programs in numerous American communities, from First Presbyterian Church of Houston to St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.
The Vatican plays dirty too, it seems. At one point a vatican official claimed the Israeli government was purposefully forcing Muslims and Christians to fight each other.
Sharansky said two main reasons led to his http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Politics/34.htm" [Broken]. He said that Muslim leaders had not honored previous agreements regarding the size of the proposed mosque and had antagonized Christian pilgrims arriving in Nazareth. In addition, Sharansky noted the united opposition of the worldwide Christian community.
 
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  • #11
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After reading it again, I feel it may has pissed the Islam of, but I can assure you that Greek Orthodox would have liked what he said. :smile: It seems like he was trying to do good on his word to repair the syst in the christian church.

Honestly I think that the Muslims need to read the speech again. Yes he may have made what appears on the outside a derogatory remark to Muslims, but wasnt he was trying to explain Violence is not the answer, faith is. And IMHO he was reaching back to the greek ideal of logos, but, in a theological way, not scientific:

Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today. In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world’s profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures. At the same time, as I have attempted to show, modern scientific reason with its intrinsically Platonic element bears within itself a question which points beyond itself and beyond the possibilities of its methodology.
http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=46474

I must say, he is a wise man.. Shame this speech was so taken out of context, I can understand why tho
 
  • #12
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Anttech said:
I think he was trying to make the point that Violence is not the answer to anything.
He is highlighting a certain, disputed, viewpoint on the characteristics of Islam's expansion. It is unclear whether he agrees with it.
Anttech said:
But in a rather strange way, ie inferring that it is mostly Muslims that are violent these days, which is B.S.
He is not inferring anything about Muslims, rather he is referring to the religion of Islam. Religion is a phenomenon on its own, since it is self-defining, it is naive to judge a religion by another religion's values. It is the mythical tower of Babel.

Anttech said:
I have just read that in Palestine some Islamic gangs have just torched Anglican Churches, they hit 5 churches and only 1 was a catholic one ..:rolleyes:
Yeah... Ignorance is everywhere.
 
  • #13
kyleb
Hey Anttech:
Show me just what Jesus brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman.
Do you understand where the problem would be if someone quoted that in an argument claiming Christianity is illogical and God-less?
 
  • #14
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Anttech said:
I must say, he is a wise man.
Indeed. Which is all the more reason to ask why he chose to include that quote in that speech.
 
  • #16
Astronuc
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Pope sorry for offending Muslims
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5353208.stm
Pope Benedict XVI has apologised in person for causing offence to Muslims in a speech in Bavaria last week.

He said the medieval text which he quoted did not express in any way his personal opinion, adding the speech was an invitation to respectful dialogue.

The Pope has been under intense scrutiny amid angry reactions from throughout the Muslim world.

The 14th Century Christian emperor's quote said the Prophet Muhammad brought the world only evil and inhuman things.

The BBC's Christian Fraser in Rome says many critics will say Sunday's comments should have been attached to his speech in Regensburg, which may well have avoided the controversy that followed.
Text of Pope's apology -http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5353774.stm

The following is the text of Pope Benedict XVI's remarks regretting causing offence to Muslims in his 12 September speech in the Bavarian city of Regensburg.
Let's see where this goes.
 
  • #17
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Astronuc said:
Let's see where this goes.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/763593.html" [Broken]:
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition movement in the country, said the pope's apology was sufficient.

"We consider that the new statements represent a retreat from what went before. We can consider them a sufficient apology, even if we had wanted the Pope to outline his ideas and vision of Islam," Brotherhood deputy leader Mohammed Habib said.

On Saturday, the Muslim Brotherhood said a Vatican statement saying the Pope was sorry did not go far enough, and called for a personal apology from the pontiff.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3304972,00.html".
 
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  • #18
kyleb
Yonoz said:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/763593.html" [Broken]:
You cut off half the first sentence of what you quoted there and lost the context:
Earlier Sunday, however, Habib had described the Pope's remarks as a "sufficient apology," and said the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's main opposition movement, would accept Benedict XVI's apology.
And the sentence before that which the "however" refers back to:
Brotherhood deputy leader Mohammed Habib said the pope's apology "does not rise to the level of a clear apology and, based on this, we're calling on the Pope of the Vatican to issue a clear apology that will decisively end any confusion."
So it looks like Habib spoke to soon and first and only lastter came to realize that the Pope didn't actually apologize for what he has said.
 
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  • #19
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kyleb said:
Hey Anttech:

"Show me just what Jesus brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman."

Do you understand where the problem would be if someone quoted that in an argument claiming Christianity is illogical and God-less?

Off course I do, and I understand *why* Islam is pissed. BUT I really dont think he was saying that Islam is the *only* violent religion or the only illogical one, but all have turned their backs on reason, especially theological reason.

I understand Islam is pissed at what they hear, but I dont think they have understood what he was saying. The sad thing is, that the *reaction* has been as illogical, his speech has self-furfiled if you will.
 
  • #20
Astronuc
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Pope remarks reveal harder stance
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5352404.stm

One of the first signs of a toughening of the Vatican's stance came with the removal from office of Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald.

The British-born cleric ran a Vatican department that promoted dialogue with other religions. A distinguished scholar on Arab affairs, he was an acknowledged expert on the Islamic world.

The decision by Benedict XVI to remove him from his post, and send him to Egypt as papal nuncio, was widely seen as a demotion.

Some wondered about the wisdom of the move.

Father Thomas Reese, a Jesuit scholar and an authority on the workings of the Vatican, told the BBC news website of his concerns: "The Pope's worst decision so far has been the exiling of Archbishop Fitzgerald," he said in an interview in April this year.

"He was the smartest guy in the Vatican on relations with Muslims. You don't exile someone like that, you listen to them.

"If the Vatican says something dumb about Muslims, people will die in parts of Africa and churches will be burned in Indonesia, let alone what happens in the Middle East.

"It would be better for Pope Benedict to have Fitzgerald close to him."

That warning now seems prophetic.

Did nobody at the Vatican anticipate the way the Pope's words might be taken out of context, and the likely reaction?

Since the 9/11 terror attacks on America, and the subsequent invasion of Iraq, nobody has been in any doubt about the importance of promoting a better understanding between Christianity and Islam.
As a prominent religious leader and head of the Catholic Church, I would have expected the pope to be more cautious.

It would have been appropriate for the pope to call for dialog and reconcilation over the centuries of conflict between peoples. Seem pretty simple, and rather obvious, especially given the fractious climate nowadays.
 
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  • #21
Lisa!
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Anttech said:
I have just read that in Palestine some Islamic gangs have just torched Anglican Churches, they hit 5 churches and only 1 was a catholic one ..:rolleyes:
:bugeye: :rolleyes:

Even if all of them were catholic that wouldn't make sense!
 
  • #22
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It would have been appropriate for the pope to call for dialog and reconcilation over the centuries of conflict between peoples. Seem pretty simple, and rather obvious, especially given the fractious climate nowadays.
Thats what he did say...
 
  • #23
kyleb
Yes that is what he said, right after making clear where he stands by proclaiming that Islam is inherently irrational and hence Godless.
 
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  • #24
The Pope: "The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war. I quote '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 radical Muslim reaction: "Two churches in the West Bank were hit by firebombs Saturday, and a group claiming responsibility said it was protesting Benedict's words.". The pope "should not be lured into returning to the Crusades," the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party said in a statement.

hmm... The Pope quotes a 14th century emperor basically saying Islam uses violence and intolerance, and then radical muslims firebomb churches. I think I gotta go with the Pope on this one, I mean, his point was proven.

"The message he is sending is very, very clear," Taft said. "Violence in the name of faith is never acceptable in any religion and that (the pope) considers it his duty to challenge Islam and anyone else on this."
 
  • #25
siddharth
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Jonny_trigonometry said:
hmm... The Pope quotes a 14th century emperor basically saying Islam uses violence and intolerance, and then radical muslims firebomb churches. I think I gotta go with the Pope on this one, I mean, his point was proven.
There were also a number of peaceful demonstrations against his comments.

"The message he is sending is very, very clear," Taft said. "Violence in the name of faith is never acceptable in any religion and that (the pope) considers it his duty to challenge Islam and anyone else on this."
The point is that, the pope should have been more cautious in his statement. If it was innocent, he should have anticipated the trouble that it was going to create.

For instance, if he really wanted to make a comparison, instead of bringing up a 14th century quote on Islam, he could have condemned the witch trials as an example violence in the name of faith.
 
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