Pope Benedict Apologizes in Person for Muslim Offense

It seems a lot more has happened in the past two weeks than I originally thought. Also, apologies on missing the chance to post on 9/11.. no doubt much of what is written here could be arguably centered around.

9/11 post will come in time. But this article should have been renamed “Catholic Church Figurehead Issues Muslim Apology” with the subheading “Religious politics play out in Europe between Pope and Muslim world”.

It’s foolish and frankly speaking, heretical, to claim you represent God AND speak on behalf of the entire earthly kingdom/church politically (or, having representative power). God doesn’t play politics… at least this much should be ascertained from the Old Testament. This is part of the reason why I believe Catholicism in practice (orthopraxis) is far from the truth of knowing who God is and true Christianity in general.

It also speaks of the extent to which ecumenism (or, in this context, false unity) is taking over every facet of the modern world. Pantheism anyone?

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Matthew 7 :14-15

http://tinyurl.com/nygq5

By Andrew Frye and Jackie Andrews

Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) — Pope Benedict XVI apologized in person today for causing offense to Muslims with a university lecture last week implicitly linking Islam to violence.

“I am truly sorry for the reactions caused by a brief passage of my speech,” the pope said from his Castel Gandolfo summer retreat in Italy. “These were quotations from a medieval text that do not express in any way my personal opinion.”

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which led demonstrations last week against the pope’s remarks, called the apology a “good step” while urging the pontiff to make a further statement to clarify his personal view of Islam.

The apology is the second for the pope in two days after a statement was released yesterday through the Vatican in which the pope reiterated his respect for Islam and said he was sorry his speech had been interpreted in a way he hadn’t intended.

Late yesterday the Italian interior ministry asked police chiefs to raise the level of national security after Islamist groups threatened to attack the pope, the Vatican and Rome, in statements on the Internet, Agence France-Presse said today.

In Somalia, where there have been protests at the pope’s speech, gunmen shot and killed an Italian nun today at a hospital in the capital Mogadishu, AFP said, citing witnesses. There was no clear motive for the attack, AFP said.

Brotherhood Response

“The problem is not the pope’s statements now,” said Abdel Gelil al-Sharnoubi, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic-based organization that’s Egypt’s biggest opposition force. “It’s about the racist views from Vatican circles toward the Muslim world.

“Such religious statements by the pope will be used in politics to justify the Western policies in the region that are biased against Muslims and Arabs. Unfortunately, his statements are pouring gas on fire,” al-Sharnoubi said in an interview.

The Brotherhood is formally banned from Egyptian politics, but associates serve in parliament as independents, winning 88 of 454 seats in last year’s parliamentary elections.

“The pope’s statements today constitute a good step but they do not amount to a clear apology,” said Mohamed Habib, the group’s deputy leader, in a telephone interview in Cairo. “Saying they were merely quotations raises questions about using these quotations in this context and at this point in time.”

In Iran, faith schools were closed today in order to allow students to join rallies protesting against the pope’s remarks, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

`Radical Rejection’

The pope’s lecture was meant as a reflection on “the relationship between religion and violence in general, and to conclude with a clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation for violence, from whatever side it may come,” said yesterday’s statement from the Vatican.

The speech, given on Sept. 12 at the University of Regensburg during a visit to Germany, had prompted Pakistan’s parliament to call on the pontiff to retract his comments to avoid heightened conflict between Muslims and Christians.

Benedict began his address in Regensburg by quoting from a 14th-century dialogue between the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an “educated Persian.” The two debate the merits of reason in Christianity and the Muslim concept of holy war. Manuel, who champions faith embedded in reason, is quoted as criticizing Islam with what Benedict called “a startling brusqueness.”

`Evil and Inhuman’

“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,” Benedict quoted the emperor as saying.

Benedict, who didn’t weigh in on the specific value of Manuel’s view of Islam, used the quote to open a discussion on the primacy of reason over violence. The speech is on the Vatican Web site.

The lecture was an invitation to a “frank and sincere dialogue with great reciprocal respect,” the pope said today. “I hope that this will placate spirits and clear up the true meaning of my speech.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Frye in Milan at afrye@bloomberg.net .

Last Updated: September 17, 2006 11:13 EDT

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