| 9/15/2006 2:15 AM
HOME SWEET HOME - FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS (SIGH!)
With Therese and Rupert Hofbauer, caretakers of his private home since 1977 -
and other neighbors and Pentling residents
The Pope walks up to his front door for the first time since January 2005.
Pentling's 'Professor' and townmates:
It must definitely be another papal first! Have we ever before seen a Pope at home,in his own house?
Oh, let us all pray those Bavarian vacations in summer will be possible, so he can have a chance to 'step home' quickly and stay for at least a day!
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 15/11/2006 0.38]
| 9/15/2006 3:11 AM
Some Muslim leaders
UPDATE ON MUSLIM REACTION
want an apology
CAIRO, Sept, 14, 2006 (Reuters) - Muslim leaders on Thursday condemned Pope Benedict over comments he made about Islam on a visit to Germany and demanded he apologize.
The head of the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood called on Islamic countries to threaten to break off relations with the Vatican unless the pontiff withdrew his remarks.
A top religious figure in Turkey suggested the pope should reconsider a trip he is planning to Turkey later this year.
In Qatar, prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi rejected the Pope's comments and said Islam was a religion of peace and reason.
"Muslims have the right to be angry and hurt by these comments from the highest cleric in Christianity," Qaradawi told Al Jazeera television. "We ask the pope to apologize to the Muslim nation for insulting its religion, its Prophet and its beliefs."
The Vatican issued a statement to say the Pope had never meant to offend Islam.
In his speech at the University of Regensburg on Tuesday, Benedict quoted criticism of Islam and the Prophet Mohammad by 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, who wrote that everything Mohammad brought was evil and inhuman, "such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."
Benedict, who used the terms "jihad" and "holy war," repeatedly quoted Manuel's argument that spreading the faith through violence is unreasonable, adding: "Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul."
The head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Mahdi Akef, whose organization is one of the oldest, largest and most influential in the Arab world, said the pope "aroused the anger of the whole Islamic world and strengthened the argument of those who say that the West is hostile to everything Islamic."
"The general guide (Akef) expressed his surprise that such comments should come from someone who sits at the summit of the Catholic Church and who has an influence over public opinion in the West," said a statement on the Muslim Brotherhood's official Web site, www.ikhwanonline.com.
The Vatican press office said in a statement the pope had not intended to carry out an in-depth study of jihad (holy war) and Muslim thinking about it, "even less to offend the sensitivity of the Muslim faithful."
"It is clear that the Holy Father's intention is to cultivate a position of respect and dialogue toward other religions and cultures, and that clearly includes Islam," the statement by chief Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.
He said a careful reading of the Pope's lecture would show that "what really matters to the Holy Father is a clear and radical rejection of religious motives for violence."
In Turkey, the Anatolian state news agency quoted Ali Bardakoglu, the head of Ankara's Directorate General for Religious Affairs, as describing the Pope's words as "extremely regrettable."
"I do not see any use in somebody visiting the Islamic world who thinks in this way about the holy prophet of Islam. He should first rid himself of feelings of hate," NTV's Web site quoted Bardakoglu as saying.
Bardakoglu, whose directorate controls all imams in Turkey and sends prayer leaders to Turkish communities abroad, recalled atrocities committed by Roman Catholic Crusaders during the Middle Ages in the name of their faith against Orthodox Christians and Jews as well as Muslims.
Benedict is due to visit Turkey, an avowedly secular state whose population is predominantly Muslim, in November at the invitation of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 12/17/2007 8:13 AM]
| 9/15/2006 4:36 AM
Registered in: 11/23/2005
A short but interesting interview on Vatican Radio with a Benedictine abbot from Bavaria about Papa's trip there and his Bavarian roots, accompanied by snippets of Papa-style music and Chant.
| 9/15/2006 12:35 PM
Dipl in the main forum has posted an Italian news agency item about one European politician who calls on all other political leaders in the West to come to the defense of the Pope - or at least, his words. Now, which of the Western world's leaders, if any, will dare to be perceived as 'politically incorrect' as the Pope was?
VERY COMMENDABLE BUT RATHER IDEALISTIC, DON'T YOU THINK?
Here is a translation:
Mario Mauro, vice-president of the European Parliament, said in a statement today, "Let us defend the Pope without ifs or buts, let us defend reason," in answer to the reactions from the Muslim world to Pope Benedict XVI's lecture at the University of Regensburg on Tuesday.
"The monstruous attempt on the part of many Islamic leaders, even the so-called moderates, to distort the Pope's reaching out to all religions (through the lecture),in order to hit out at Christians and the West shows us the gravity of the danger we are facing," Mauro continues.
He underscores how "the islamo-nazi ideology that permeates the thought of fundamentalists represents the most dramatic distortion of the use of reason."
The statement continues:
"They use God as a pretext to pursue a plan for power, and this is what the Pope has denounced, thereby defending freedom for all, especially for those Muslims who look to religion as an experience of the sense of life, and not as a shortcut to political power.
"It is remarkable that so many names, too many, among those with political responsibility (in the Western world) are not coming to the defense of the words said by the Vicar of Christ! It is almost as if they are ashamed or are too cowardly to speak up in defense of reason and freedom."
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 15/09/2006 12.38]
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 12/17/2007 8:14 AM]
| 9/15/2006 3:03 PM
The forces of unreason are on a rampage against our Pope for a lecture that held up reason, among other things, as a necessity if there is to be an intercultural, inter-religious dialog
WE KINDA EXPECTED THIS...
Prepare to get even more outraged, incensed, boiling mad, etc...but remember, you cannot reason against unreason. Wemust not expect anything but illogical leaps of frenzy which the agitators (and they're very good at this) are trying to whip up into.....what? I think the Holy Father gave the other side too much credit to be able to see reason, instead of just the sheer reflex of boy-do-we-have-a-pretext-to-go-after-those-infidels now!
The latest outrage....It's just one more thing added on to the protests that have been reported on since yesterday, so except for the first few paragraphs and the last - about the new Vatican foreign minister - there is nothing much that's new here.
compares Pope to Hitler
By SUZAN FRASER, Associated Press Writer
ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's ruling Islamic-rooted party joined a wave of criticism of Pope Benedict XVI on Friday, accusing him of trying to revive the spirit of the Crusades with remarks he made about Islam. A party official said the pontiff would go down in history "in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini" for his words.
The Vatican said the pope did not intend the remarks — made in Germany on Tuesday during an address at a university — to be offensive.
The pope quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam.
"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said.
"He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed 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,'" he quoted the emperor as saying. He did not explicitly agree with them nor repudiate them.
Turkey's top Islamic cleric, Religious Affairs Directorate head Ali Bardakoglu, asked Benedict on Thursday to apologize about the remarks and unleashed a string of accusations against Christianity, raising tensions before the pontiff's planned visit to Turkey in November on what would be his first papal pilgrimage in a Muslim country.
Bardakoglu said he was deeply offended and called the remarks "extraordinarily worrying, saddening and unfortunate."
On Thursday, when the pope returned to Italy, Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said, "It certainly wasn't the intention of the pope to carry out a deep examination of jihad (holy war) and on Muslim thought on it, much less to offend the sensibility of Muslim believers."
Lombardi insisted the pontiff respects Islam. Benedict wants to "cultivate an attitude of respect and dialogue toward the other religions and cultures, obviously also toward Islam," Lombardi said.
On Friday, Salih Kapusuz, a deputy leader of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party, said Benedict's remarks were either "the result of pitiful ignorance" about Islam and its prophet, or worse, a deliberate distortion of the truths.
"He has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages. He is a poor thing that has not benefited from the spirit of reform in the Christian world," Kapusuz blurted out in comments made to the state-owned Anatolia news agency. "It looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades."
"Benedict, the author of such unfortunate and insolent remarks is going down in history for his words. However ... he is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini," he said.
In Beirut, Lebanon's most senior Shiite Muslim cleric denounced the remarks and demanded the pope personally apologize for insulting Islam.
"We do not accept the apology through Vatican channels ... and ask him (Benedict) to offer a personal apology — not through his officials — to Muslims for this false reading (of Islam)," Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah told worshippers in his Friday prayers sermon.
A Lebanese government official said the country's ambassador to the Vatican has been instructed to seek clarifications on the pontiff's remarks.
In neighboring Syria, the grand mufti, the country's top Sunni Muslim religious authority, sent a letter to the Pope saying he feared the pontiff's comments on Islam would worsen interfaith relations.
And in Cairo, about 100 demonstrators gathered in an anti-Vatican protest outside the capital's al-Azhar mosque.
Pakistan's parliament unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the pope for making what it called "derogatory" comments about Islam, and seeking an apology from him
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry also called the pope's remarks "regrettable."
"Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.
"What he has done is that he has quoted very offensive remarks by some emperor hundreds of years ago," Aslam said. "It is not helpful (because) we have been trying to bridge the gap, calling for dialogue and understanding between religions."
She said Muslims had a long history of tolerance, adding that when the Catholic kingdom of Spain expelled its Jewish population in 1492 they were welcomed by Muslim nations such as the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
The head of Britain's largest Muslim body said it was disturbed by the pope's use of a 14th century passage. The Muslim Council, which represents 400 groups in Britain, said the emperor's views were "ill-informed and frankly bigoted."
"One would expect a religious leader such as the pope to act and speak with responsibility and repudiate the Byzantine emperor's views in the interests of truth and harmonious relations between the followers of Islam and Catholicism," said Muhammad Abdul Bari, the council's secretary-general.
Benedict, who has made the fight against growing secularism in Western society a theme of his pontificate, is expected to visit Turkey for a few days, starting Nov. 28. He was invited by the staunchly secularist Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who said the invitation was part of an effort to strengthen dialogue between religions.
On Friday the pope appointed a French prelate with diplomatic experience in the Muslim world as the Vatican's new foreign minister. The new foreign minister — officially called secretary for relations with states — is Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, 54, who was born of French parents in Morocco.
Associated Press Writer Benjamin Harvey contributed to this report from Istanbul
Ratzigirl makes a very good point in the main forum. All these weeks, a 'thriller' called 'Who is going to assassinate the Pope in Istanbul', with the Pope's picture on it, has been making the rounds in Turkey. We Catholics are outraged, but as tastelessly opportunistic as it is, it comes under the umbrella of free expression. Not that any important figure of world renown has stepped up to express any outrage about the book, but that fact alone, the other side sees as yet another sign of weakness in the infidel. Like Bin Laden 'read' all those 'signs' of an American tiger without teeth going into 9/11.
If a Westerner wrote and circulated a book called 'Who is going to asassinate the Grand Mufti', the entire world of Islamist extremists and those they can cower into submission would have issued fatwas left and right already...And I am afraid, before not very long, we will hear that word bandied about. In deadly serious.
The Holy Father will need all the spiritual and emotional strength he built up during his visit home and our never-ending prayers. God bless Papa.
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[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 12/17/2007 8:14 AM]
| 9/15/2006 6:11 PM
AMID THE TO-DO, THE POPE'S SCHEDULE IN TURKEY IS MADE KNOWN
15 September, 2006
Islamic nationalists in Turkey
protest against visit of Benedict XVI
by Mavi Zambak
The media shrouded the trip to Germany in silence, broken only to refer to a citation against Islam used by Pope Ratzinger, indicated as an example of what can be expected from the visit of an anti-Islamic in Turkey. The details of the papal trip have been laid down.
Ankara (AsiaNews) – The Turkish media has lifted the veil of silence in which it had thus far shrouded the visit of Benedict XVI to Turkey at the end of November.
Today, the pope was given ample coverage, to maintain that the Muslim world wants his apologies for “linking Islam and violence”.
Recently, Mgr Luigi Padovese, Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia, had predicted what was to come. “As they did with the death and funeral of John Paul II,” he said, “the mass media will put the heaviest accent on mere details and I fear the deep, significant meaning of his visit down here will not be truly revealed."
"Certainly those who do not seek dialogue but opposition, and the confirmation of their ideas and calumnies, will be able to come up with some action or expression to re-ignite anti-Christian propaganda, which has been finding ever more encouragement in recent months.”
"Thus, newspapers and television did not mention the pope’s visit to Germany but now they have extrapolated the phrase quoted by the Pope: '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.
"They have done so to spark a controversy about Benedict XVI, the anti-Islamic conservative pope... and about what can be expected from his coming to Turkey."
So far, the climax was the publication of a novel last May, which was already in its second edition by the end of August. The book ranks as one of Turkey’s bestsellers on the Internet and it looks like it will soon be sold out again. The title is significant: “Assassinating the Pope: Who will kill Benedict XVI in Istanbul?”
More than 300 pages long, the novel, written by Yucel Kaya, a crime-story writer, is about international intrigues of the Opus Dei, P2 [apparently a powerful Masonic lodge
] and Turkish secret services – all against, according to the author, the union of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
The upshot of the intrigues is that Italian journalist, Oriano Ciroella, murders the pope during his first visit to Turkey. This novel is just one more of many spy stories a la The Da Vinci Code
, which have become so fashionable in recent years, but as the Apostolic Vicar in Istanbul, Mgr Louis Pelatre, said: “All this is sad and worrying at the same time”.
The storyline of the novel, that includes real and circumstantial references, highlights prevalent contradictions in Turkish society. One sector of society is looking towards democracy and western values with increasing openness and interest, thus seeking cultural dialogue with Europe. But pitted against this sector is an anti-western fringe group, which has recently made anti-Christian propaganda practically an obligation.
There have already been instances where propaganda has driven fragile and fanatical minds to carry out misguided actions, like the murder of Don Andrea Santoro on 5 February and the stabbing of Fr Pierre in July this year.
One hopes this book will not contribute to putting strange ideas in the head of some new Alì Agca and that it will not provoke further escalation of intolerance against the Christian minority.
The Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr Antonio Lucibello, is calm: “We must see this account for what it is. It is a literary fiction and we must take it as such. We are confident and prudent, because we are counting on the Turkish government, which is doing its utmost to guarantee the greatest security possible for the pope, organizing his visit down to the minutest details.”
The programme of the apostolic voyage is now official
and on Monday 18 September, members of the Bishops’ Conference of Turkey will come together in Istanbul to define the final logistical details.
Two pieces of news have leaked out: the first is about a one-day extension of the pontiff’s visit to the land of the Crescent: he will be in Istanbul on 1 December as well (the previous dates were from 28 to 30 November), a day added only at the last minute.
Mgr Padovese explained why:
“The Pope realized that time was too tight and that particularly, there was no meeting with Catholic believers on the schedule. And they themselves complained because the organizers of the trip did not manage to fix an appointment just for them on the Holy Father’s packed agenda.
"So the morning of Friday 1 December will be dedicated especially to them, they will be able to meet the pontiff and attend Mass presided over by him, which will be held in the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Istanbul, obviously in the presence of all the religious authorities and bishops of Turkey.”
And at the end of his trip, on the same day, Benedict XVI will visit the historical museum of Santa Sofia. The imposing Basilica which until 1453 was the most sublime symbol of Christianity in the East was a church for 916 years, then a mosque and finally, deconsecrated by order of AtaTurk in 1935, it became a museum. It is still an object of controversy for nationalists who claim it as a place of Islamic worship.
The planned visit has baffled Turks who are fearful that the Pontiff may want to stake a Christian claim there, or expect to pray inside. The visit will be a private one, bearing in mind that the place is a museum and should be respected as such, in line with the will of those who made it so, thus guaranteeing access to all believers but without public religious manifestations.
The other novelty is a stop in Ephesus, precisely at the House of Our Lady, on 29 November
. It had been speculated that he may spend this day between meetings, with the civil authorities in Ankara and religious ones in Istanbul, in Trabzon.
This is the city on the Black Sea where Don Andrea Santoro was killed last winter, a tragic event that unblocked the invitation to the Pope from the president of the Republic of Turkey.
Another possibility mooted was Antioch – a city in southern Turkey, where for the first time, the disciples of Jesus were called Christians – where he would have been able to give a strong signal of ecumenical dialogue, meeting at the same time the five patriarchs of the East that hold the name of “Antiochians” (Greek Orthodox – Syrian Orthodox – Melchite – Maronite – Syrian Catholic).
However, Meryem Ana was chosen, the small house at the top of a hill on the Aegean Sea, where tradition has it that Mary lived out the last years of her life, and from where she was assumed into heaven. The pontiff will go to pray at this national Marian shrine, continuing in the tradition of his predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II.
Then there are the other significant stops. The first day (28 November) will be dedicated to political authorities: the welcome ceremony will not be at the airport of Ankara but at the presidential palace, where the pope will meet the Turkish president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer. And he will also have a private meeting with the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the diplomatic corps.
On the way, he will also go to the mausoleum of Ataturk, to pay homage to the father of Turkey, founded in 1923 on the ruins of the old and decadent Ottoman Empire.
On the evening of 29 November, the pontiff will have a private audience with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I. After prayers in the patriarchal church of St George on 30 November, the feast of St Andrew, the Holy Father will attend a solemn divine liturgy presided over by the Patriarch, and at the end a joint statement will be signed.
“The contents of this statement are unknown,” said Mgr Padovese. “But surely it will be another step in ecumenical dialogue, in the quest for unity, already started with the resumption of deliberations last autumn of the Commission of Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, desired by John Paul II during his visit to Turkey in 1979.”
This dialogue, which has been extended also to all the sister Churches of the East, will see another significant gesture in the visit of the Pontiff to Mesrob II, the Armenian Patriarch, pastor of a Christian community that has always been present in Turkey and which despite everything, remains numerous and vibrant.
This apostolic voyage, set to have a strong ecumenical impact, is fervently anticipated by all Christians. The Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia said:
“Surely this visit will be a precious opportunity to animate the Christian community in awareness of their identity and at the same time to demonstrate the nearness and interest of the Holy Father as regards the plight of the Churches of Turkey.
"This is the first visit of the Pontiff to a country with a Muslim majority but inspired by secularism. The pope’s will be a strong voice that will not speak not only to Turkey but to the whole world, about ties between Islam and Christianity and the discomfort that today, perhaps more than ever, afflicts Christians in this land and all the Middle East.”
If this 'controversy' goes on any further, as it may, then please let me know if it is time to move over the discussion to the thread on ISLAM, as this no longer has anything to do with Bavaria except that the fatidical words were said there.
I just read an Italian news item that Fr. Samir, the Egyptian-born Jesuit expert on contemporary Islam, has written an article for Asia News in which he explains for those who want to listen what the Pope's lecture was all about. That, to begin with, as it was written for an audience of his peers (eminent men in their respective fields of knowledge), it was an academic lecture, which will have all the footnotes, as the Pope promised, that one usually attaches to an academic paper.
Further, he blames the media and their soundbite mentality for fomenting this firestorm - for having singled out, in effect, the one pungent morsel in a masterfully prepared piece de resistance (forgive the labored metaphor - it's mine, not Father Samir's) that was guaranteed to inflame passions when taken out of context the way it was reported.
But I believe, even if it had been reported in context, which is not a difficult thing to do and which some reporters managed, the other side would have taken umbrage, anyway - and more than umbrage. They are always on the lookout for a pretext to whip up the frenzy among their minions.
The mere fact that the head of the Roman Catholic Church had the 'audacity' to use the Prophet's name (let alone recount a telling anecdote that shows how Islam through Mohammed himself chose the path of militancy as best suited to spread their faith!) would have set them off.
Think of the hatred and violence they stoked over the relatively 'small' matter of the Danish cartoons or of the Newsweek photo showing a Koran crammed into a receptacle usually meant for doo and pee.
And the sad fact is few are bothering to partake of the master dish presented to us - food for the mind and the spirit to delight a thinking man and make him thank God above that we are presented with such a feast. By such a blessed and beautiful man!
I looked at the Asia News site to see if they have posted the Samir article yet but it's not up yet.
| 9/15/2006 8:15 PM
Registered in: 5/17/2006
I can only agree with every word you have said, Teresa.
I have just read the Pope's address in English, and heard the original in German. I wonder if it would be possible to translate it into Arabic languages!!? Not that it will improve matters greatly.... I get the impression that these people are perpetually on the lookout for the slightest word or gesture of any Westerner that could be used in the "whipping up" of minions. I wonder if any of those who condemn him has read the whole address?
It is disturbing though to watch the TV Channels since yeaterday, seeing effigies of Papa being burned and hearing the spluttering rage of certain Muslim religious analysts and leaders, not to speak of the man and woman "on the street", who do not have the vaguest idea what he really said in his scholarly address. One channel mentioned that Benedict is shocked by the uproar. But I cannot see him apologizing, as is now expected from him by certain Islam spokesmen.
About the matter of Western leaders coming up for the Pope: hahahaha!!!!!!!!!!! I may be totally wrong, and I HOPE I am, but I doubt very much this will happen to any significant extent.
| 9/15/2006 8:47 PM
Registered in: 11/23/2005
[On a lighter note, looks like GG did let Papa and Brother George have some time alone in Pentling.]
Germans waiting for glimpse of pope say secretary helped pass time
PENTLING, Germany (CNS) -- Among hundreds of people waiting for hours to catch a glimpse of Pope Benedict XVI outside his house in Pentling, many said they were surprised at the time the pope's secretary, Msgr. Georg Ganswein, spent with them. "For the better part of an hour, he came out to talk to all of us privately, taking a lot of time to answer all of our questions," said Ingeborg Ponsel, who had traveled about 30 miles from Amberg to Pentling Sept. 13. "He was wonderful with the children, and with us adults, too, making us all feel very special and welcome," she said. "He blessed a photo of my son, who had died in 1985 at the age of 18, in a car accident. When I told him that, he said a little prayer for him right there and then. That was very special to me." Msgr. Ganswein spoke to the children and handed them rosaries blessed by the pope.
| 9/15/2006 11:06 PM
Registered in: 11/23/2005
Assessing Benedict XVI's Trip
Interview With Father F. Lombardi, Vatican Spokesman
MUNICH, Germany, SEPT. 14, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's trip to his native Bavaria turned out to fulfill his hopes, says a Vatican spokesman.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, reflected on the highlights of the papal trip that ended today.
Q: How did this trip turn out?
Father Lombardi: I think this trip turned out in the best possible way, and it has responded perfectly both to the Pope's hopes as well as to those of the local Church and the people of Bavaria.
The atmosphere of welcome was wonderful and the warmth grew with the passing of the days, as happens on all the Pope's trips. Benedict XVI was very pleased, at times even intensely moved. The fact that he delivered the homily of the last meeting in the Freising cathedral altogether spontaneously shows that also for him it was a joy that grew.
Q: Also on this trip Benedict XVI did not dedicate himself to saying "no." "Faith is not a heap of prohibitions, it is a positive option," he said.
Father Lombardi: Yes, indeed. It has been an extremely encouraging message, especially for the local Church, which lives at a time when society is in the process of secularization and, consequently, the proclamation of the faith is not easy.
Encouragement is what the Pope has given priests, deacons, all pastoral agents [and] believers, making its active and lively presence seen in today's society. This has been a very, very important point.
Several people of the local Church have told me these days that it will have great effectiveness for the future. In fact, the theme itself of the trip, "Those Who Believe Are Never Alone," sought to go precisely in this direction: to show the beauty and richness of communion of faith, communion with God above all, but also with the whole community of believers, and the possibility of dialogue, service, enrichment for the whole community which comes from lively faith.
Q: The Pope has again spoken of reason and of the reasonable character of faith against all fundamentalism and irrationalism, both religious as well as cultural. The faith, he said, proposes an authentic Enlightenment.
Father Lombardi: Yes, it seems that with time it is becoming one of the guiding themes of this pontificate, of Benedict XVI's teaching.
The harmonious relationship between faith and reason is like the foundation of the service that faith can give to human civilization at this time, but also in general. Faith and reason enrich one another mutually.
We have seen that in some passages of his addresses the Pope expressed that faith must be freed from its corruptions, to have a correct idea of God. In this connection, reason has an active part to play within the realm of faith, it helps very much.
At the same time, faith prevents reason from limiting itself in its interests, objectives [and] field of action, impoverishing itself and becoming incapable of guiding humanity in the great questions of always and the great ethical problem of today.
Q: What do you think of the ecumenical significance of this trip?
Father Lombardi: The trip had a particularly important ecumenical moment: Vespers in Regensburg's Cathedral. However, the whole trip has had an ecumenical significance, as it has concentrated much on faith in God.
In what God? In the God of Jesus Christ, the God who revealed himself in Jesus Christ, the God who is love.
These are absolutely common foundations of the Christian faith. Benedict XVI's proclamation, therefore, has been to a very large extent a proclamation that can be totally shared by the Christian churches and confessions.
Q: Finally, what remains in the Pope's heart from this trip to Bavaria?
Father Lombardi: I think that for the Pope the great joy remains of having drawn strength and drive from his roots of faith; great encouragement for the local Church and, for the German Church and culture, a great contribution of reflection. A reflection that can be extended to the whole of European culture on the importance of correct dialogue between faith and reason for the good of modern society and, if one takes into account the world in general, on the possibility of dialogue with other cultures, as the Pope underlined, which experience the religious dimension as something profoundly important and can enter into dialogue with us in a much more fruitful way if we live a culture that respects the religious dimension, fully respecting the person and human culture.
| 9/15/2006 11:40 PM
Father Samir's piece is out but so far only in the Italian service of AsiaNews. It is rather lengthy and I do want to translate it as soon as I can, but Father Cervellera's translators at Asia News will probably put it up in English any moment now....And there are tons of thoughtful pieces in the Italian press by other than the regular Vaticanistas - and they almost make up for the reckless thoughtlessness that usually marks the editorial and reportorial choices made by the mainstream media.
And I just learned from a post in the main forum that Oriana Fallacci died today, a year since her private conversation with Benedict in Castel Gandolfo. God rest your soul, Oriana. I am sure the Holy Father will offer a prayer for you.
One cannot miss the irony of it. She always argued that the West should give up trying to talk to Islam because that side will never see reason, just when the Pope is getting all sorts of vituperation for a talk in which his point was that it is possible to dialog between religions and cultures, but only when everyone does so from a position of reasoned faith.
This is a belated add-on to find the right spot for a very early AsiaNews report about a multi-sided discussion of the Pope's Regensburg lecture - in India of all places
14 September, 2006
Controversy about Pope and Islam
open to manipulation
by Nirmala Carvalho
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The Pope’s speech to university students in Regensburg has caused a stir in India that is “useless” and open to manipulation.
In a country of some 120 million Muslims, reports in the national media about Benedict XVI’s comments as alleged attacks against Islam are “tendentious”.
[I have trouble with these first two sentences of the story, because the writer uses words in quotation but does not state either here or later who said these things, and how they said it! What for instance does 'useless' mean?
One of the most closely followed debates on the issue took place on national television and involved Kamal Farooqui, from the Muslim Personal Board; Fr Tony Charangat, director of the Media and Communications office of the archdiocese of Bombay and editor of the influential Catholic paper The Examiner; and Khalid Rashid, a Sunni leader from Lucknow.
Mr Farooqui, who spoke first, said he was “surprised that a scholar like Pope Benedict chose to use a quotation from the most volatile and tumultuous period (8th-14th centuries) between the two communities”.
He was referring to remarks made by the Pope who quoted Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus who debated a learned Persian over the respective truths of Christianity and Islam. “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new,” the emperor said, “and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” For Farooqui, steps must be taken to correct the Pontiff’s position.
Mr Rashid took the same view and accused the Pope of not saying that Islam means peace and of being silent on Israeli attacks in Palestine and other forms of Christian terrorism. [Now, how can Israeli attacks on Palestine be considered "Christian acts of terrorism
At this point Father Charangat spoke up. He said that the Pope was talking about the meaning of jihad, and its moral justification on the part of Muslims.
The “wrong understanding of the Jihad as its interpreted today,” he said, “can be traced to the (issue at) debate between the Byzantine emperor Manuel II and the Persian scholar.”
It is this that explains that today’s interpretation of holy war is wrong. “Today Islamic extremists invoke the wrong understanding [of jihad] and the Holy Father was trying to reconcile the original meaning of the term jihad with how it is misunderstood today.”
Father Charangat went to say that what the Pope had in mind was “verse 190 of the second sura [And fight in the Way of Allah, those who fight you, but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors
], which explains that holy war is a spiritual struggle, it is defensive violence.”
More importantly, the Pope said quite clearly that “violence is incompatible with the nature of God and it doesn’t stand to reason that a person of Faith would threaten a person with death — God is life.”
Last but not least, Father Charangat pointed out that the “Pope was giving a lecture and was trying to help university students understand a specific issue. It was not a statement to the whole world. The media should stop portraying him as conservative, and above all they should stop quoting him out of context.”
John Dayal, head of the All India Catholic Union, member of India’s National Minority Council and one of the panelist, told AsiaNews that “the media took a lecture on the relationship between faith and reason and turned into sound bites worthy of B-movie starlets.
They seem to be looking for a scandal at any cost. There is no clash of civilisations. Rome has a long history of dialogue with Islam. Let us not forget the late John Paul II who kissed the Qur’an.”
“His successor is seriously involved [in a plan] to have all of the world’s major faiths engage in a constructive dialogue that leads to peace, but it is clear that you create misunderstandings if you take sentences out of context.”
As for the clarification provided by the new director of the Vatican Press Office, Dayal said he was “happy that the Vatican move to set the record straight. This is an objective lesson also for Indian priests and bishops who must fully read the text before making any comment on sensitive issues.”
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 06/10/2006 23.44]
| 9/16/2006 12:19 AM
AND HERE IT IS, IN FACT -
15 September, 2006
VATICAN – ISLAM
The Pope’s speech:
lending Islam a helping hand
to avoid a downward spiral
by Samir Khalil Samir, SJ
Muslim criticism against the Pope’s remarks is mounting, but no one has actually read the whole speech. Benedict XVI criticises violence and proposes a reasonable alternative that could lead to a new Golden Age.
Beirut (AsiaNews) – Negative reactions in the Arab and Muslim world to the remarks made by Benedict XVI at Regensburg University are exaggerated and misplaced. Protest marches are being organised everywhere in ways that bring to mind what happened in the wake of the publication of the blasphemous Muhammad cartoons. But one thing is clear. No one, and I mean NO ONE, has fully read what the Pope said.
An English translation of the speech, which was in German, was released yesterday, a French version is not yet ready, and no translation has been made in any Eastern language. Therefore, all the attacks so far are based on a few quotes and excerpts liberally taken by Western news agencies on what the Pope said about Islam, which was only ten per cent of his speech. But this ten per cent must be understood against the whole thing
The Pope’s speech was a prolusion, an inaugural speech, delivered to an assembly of faculty and students at the beginning of the new academic year. By definition, it was an academic exercise, interdisciplinary, meant for the eyes and ears of scholars and would-be scholars. Moreover, the full text of the speech released by the Vatican Press Office does not have any notes, which will be supplied at a later date.
It is necessary to keep in mind that what the Pope did was prepare and deliver a speech as an academic, a philosopher, a top theologian whose arguments and fine points may not be easily grasped.
The media — which should indulge in some self-criticism of its own — picked out those remarks from the speech that it could immediately use and superimposed them on the current international political context, on the ongoing confrontation between the West and the Muslim world, taking a step back into what Samuel Huntington called a ‘clash of civilisations’.
In reality, in his speech the Pope outlined a path that runs contrary to this view. The goal he has in mind is actually to engage others in a dialogue and of the most beautiful kind.
Initial reactions in the Muslim world showed that the Pope’s was misunderstood. Some reports actually said that at Regensburg University the Pope had delivered a lecture on ‘technology’ rather than ‘theology’ (evidently something got lost in the English translation). Even though newspapers eventually printed corrections, it was the following day. All in all, it goes to show how no one really understood what he said.
Comments made by Western Muslims were superficial and fed the circus-like criticism. In a phone-in programme on al-Jazeera yesterday, many viewers called in to criticise the Pope but no one knew about what. These were just emotional outbursts in response to hearsay concerning the Pope talking about jihad and criticising Islam, when in fact all that is false
. Let me say why.
Quoting the Qur’an
The Pope quoted only one verse from the Qur’an, the one that says that “There is no compulsion in religion” (2, 256). In the West, Muslims quote this verse all the time as proof that freedom of conscience and faith are part of Islam.
If the Pope really wanted to attack Islam and show how bad it is, he could have picked any one of many dozens of verses like Surah 2, 191-193, in which Muslims are urged to kill those guilty of al-fitnah (sedition). For, in the name of Islam, thousands of people have been killed because as the Qur’an says, “Al-Fitnah is worse than killing”.
It was with this verse on their lips that people said they wanted to kill Abdul Rahman, an Afghan man who converted to Christianity.
To many, becoming Christian is seen as “sedition” (fitnah) from the community, an act that is better dealt with by killing the perpetrator.
Instead the Pope chose the most positive and more open verse and made a comment about its history.
He told his audience that the verse came from Muhammad’s period in Madinah, a time when he was weak and under threat. Even the Saudi-published Qur’an, which is considered the most official, places Surah 2 in Muhammad’s early, Madinan period, when the prophet was a refugee, without an army.
Reason and violence
Normally, speeches by the Pope are never preceded by a title. This inaugural address however was different; it had a title —“Faith, Reason and the University. Memories and Reflections” —because it was part of academic exercise. If one reads through the whole document, one would find that the word “Reason”, as the key point in the message, appears 46 times.
Islam, Judaism, and especially Western culture also do appear, but the text the Pope delivered was a criticism of the concept of Reason as it evolved in the West since the Enlightenment
A few days earlier he had also criticised German bishops for giving precedence to “social” rather than “religious” projects (like building churches or evangelising).
In the speech Pope was trying to show how western society —including the Church — has become secularised by removing from the concept of Reason its spiritual dimension and origins which are in God. In early Western history, Reason was not opposed to faith, according to the Pope, but instead fed on it.
During the speech Benedict XVI quoted from a recent book by Prof Theodore Khoury, an expert on Byzantium, who has reprinted the text of a late Middle Ages dialogue between a Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologus, and a Persian Muslim.
The Holy Father chose this text because it contained a “key sentence” in which the emperor criticises the Muslim for Islam’s violence as exemplified by the command to spread the faith by the sword. No historian can deny the fact that Muhammad and, after him, the caliphs often used violence to convert conquered peoples. This does not mean that Muhammad liked violence but it does mean that he was a man of his time
. Fighting among Arab tribes was widespread, including over grazing land.
The first biography of Muhammad written by a Muslim was titled “Book of [Military] Campaigns” (the term is Maghazi which has been transliterated as razzias).
Certainly, one can criticise Emperor Manuel for Islam did not spread by violence alone. In Indonesia, Malaysia and some African countries Islam was brought by Muslim traders. In other countries it arrived via Sufi mystics (who could also be warriors as was the case in Morocco).
But for the emperor, “violence is something unreasonable [. . .] incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul”.
It is this sentence that got the Pope’s attention, so much so that he repeated it five times.
Basically then, the message is that anyone who engages in violence ceases being a believer; anyone, Christian or Muslim, who goes along with violence goes against Reason and God, who is the source of Reason.
The West’s mutilated Reason
The other thrust in the Pope’s speech was a critique of the West for removing everything spiritual from the concept of Reason.
In Greek Logikos means “rational” and “spiritual”, and until the 8th-9th century, Muslims had a similar word borrowed from the Christians that meant both “rational and spiritual”.
The Pope’s thoughts are thus quite close to Muslim criticism of the secularised West. Muslims seem to be saying: You have technology, science, everything, except the essential since you marginalised spirituality and God
In a unique way, the Pope is criticising the West with an “attempt [. . .] at a critique of modern reason from within” which “has nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age.”
Through this attempt at a critique from “within” the Pontiff wants to show that efforts to exclude God are not enlightened but a false “enlightenment
”. Instead, once this is taken into account, the “positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly.”
Benedict XVI does not want to reject modern Reason; he wants to broaden its meaning. In so doing, he joins Muslims in criticising the atheist view of Reason whilst offering a critique from “within” in order to “broaden” it. “Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today.”
Therefore, the goal is to start a universal dialogue based on “Reason”. Violence stands against human Reason (a danger that looms over Islam) as does the belief that Reason is opposed to faith and spirituality.
Universal dialogue and Islamic Golden Age
Rather than criticising Islam, the Pope is actually offering it a helping hand by suggesting that it do away with the cycle of violence. He also asks Islam not to leave the cycle of “Reason” or better still, he urges it to engage Christianity in a dialogue for reasons related to ethics.
The Middle Ages were the Golden Age of the Muslim world. Why? Because at that time a true humanism based on Greek thinking had developed in the lands of Islam.
Upon the request of caliphs, Arab and Syriac Christians translated into Arabic everything that was known by and about Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Anaxagoras and the whole of traditional philosophy.
In the field of medicine, Hunayn Ibn Ishaq, a Christian who died in 873 AD, translated all the works of Hippocrates and Galen from Greek into Arabic.
For centuries Christian translators acted as teachers for Muslim scholars. Through them Hellenistic thinking was integrated into Arab, Persian, Turkish and other cultures. And it is against this background that Islam experienced its ‘Golden Age’, an age that saw thinkers like Averroes flower. We Arabs know that this was the most beautiful period in Islam’s history, which ended in the 12th century.
Many Muslim thinkers today realise that an Islamic Renaissance today requires looking back at the world of Medieval ideas. In fact, we must heed the Pope’s suggestions; we must face, assimilate, and evaluate modern thinking the way Christian translators and then Muslim scholars did in the Middle Ages.
Today Islam is tempted to reject Western culture as a whole dismissing it as “pagan” (which is partly true). However, this means failing to separate the wheat from the chaff.
As a great scholar, the Pope has dared to do so. With great acumen he has said yes to Reason, but one that is not robbed of its spiritual content; yes to enlightenment but no to its anti-religious version.
The Pope is proposing a universal dialogue open to all religions as well as agnostics based on a “broader” definition of Reason. For this reason, I want to tell my Muslim friends: Before talking, read. When you have read, think and try to understand. Even we Christians can have a hard time trying to grasp what the Pope says.[Really????? This Pope?????
Theo-Cons and fundamentalists as Siamese twins
Some Muslim fundamentalists have said that the Pope now speaks for the Theo-Cons and has become the instigator for a “crusade against Islam”.
Sadly, some people cannot avoid seeing the conflict between the West and Islam except in political terms. Since the Pope is a Westerner, it must logically follow that he is “against” us. And having failed to understand what the Pope says, all that they can say is that he criticised jihad and for this reason he certainly “must” be an enemy.
This explains why in so many Muslim countries, people are taking to the streets to protest as they did for the Muhammad cartoons controversy. In so doing they actually confirm what the Pope said, namely that violence is against Reason and God
These fundamentalists want to defend Islam in the West by resorting to violent methods, but all they do is confirm to the West that it is right in condemning Islam.
From this standpoint it is clear that Theo-Con violence that fuels wars and Muslim fundamentalism are like “Siamese twins” that can only help each other.
If violence and street protests should grow because of fundamentalism, Islam will further spiral downward into its own crisis.
Only by listening to the Pope’s suggestions, and those of a few Muslim intellectuals, can Islam’s chances for renewal become real. It is high time that Islam deal with modernity; not to be swallowed up by it, but rather to take what good it has to offer and improve on it.
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 12/01/2007 16.15]
| 9/16/2006 8:56 PM
Registered in: 11/27/2005
Crotchet - I have just read your post some way above. I agree absolutely [I've written something on the News thread]. These people are just waiting to pounce and will misconstrue simply because they want to. I've heard Muslims ranting and raving on television today - luckily I didn't see any burning of effigies of our Papa [I would have looked away - I couldn't bear it].
And STILL he intends to go to Turkey! So it's a secular state! But it's swarming with militant Muslims. My country is still supposed to be Christian...."supposed" to be.
I'm very angry and can't seem to get any peace in me. I know that some of our younger members were really ill over this, sick to their stomachs. If only our Holy Father can be dissuaded from going to Turkey......how can we help? We are powerless.
Love, Mary [England]
| 9/16/2006 10:32 PM
Registered in: 5/17/2006
Thanks for your above post. I am glad you admitted you are angry. So am I. In fact, I have seen RED today quite a few times, just watching the mobs shouting abuse and burning new effigies of Papa.
I am also very, very angry with the Western journalists who look only for sensational sound-bytes to report, even when the speaker is THE POPE, for G..'s sake!!!! I can just imagine with what degree of trepidation and respect I, and any of us, would treat a report on ANY lecture or homily given by a giant such as Benedict. I simply would have made doubly sure that I understand the main thrust of his argument, before rushing in like a fool where angels fear to tread. That someone of the intellectual stature and deep spirituality like Pope Benedict should be thrown to the wolves, FIRSTLY by foolish Westerners, is enough to drive one to despair.
Enough said - I feel a bit like someone lamenting in a Greek tragedy. Sorry friends.
| 9/17/2006 1:46 AM
And can we imagine what the Holy Father feels about all this? How pained that he is the unwitting cause of all the rabble-rousing and some incidents of violence already (like Palestinian protestors targeting a Greek Orthodox church!) around the world? He who has not been calling for anything but peace and reasoned dialog among peoples and cultures? And knowing his humility, what thoughts he must be unburdening to his confessor these days!
As I said earlier, we can only pray that the Holy Spirit carry him through this ordeal and enlighten minds and hearts on the other side. All the unfair flak he got in all those years at CDF have certainly prepared him mentally for more of the same, but this is more and not 'the same'.
BENEDICTUS QUI VENIT IN NOMINE DOMINi.
| 9/17/2006 3:40 PM
This is the appreciation I would have wished to write had I the academic competence to do it! It was written before all the nastiness began, and so Father Schall's informed and highly readable appreciation is pristine, beautifully so!.....
THE REGENSBURG LECTURE: AN APPRECIATION - READ AND REJOICE
The Regensburg Lecture:
Thinking Rightly About God and Man
Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.
September 15, 2006
On September 12, on his visit to his native Bavaria, Benedict XVI gave a formal academic lecture at the University at which he formerly was a professor. It is a brilliant, stunning lecture, and it is a lecture, not a papal pronouncement.
It brings into focus just why there is a papacy and why Catholicism is an intellectual religion. Indeed, it is a lecture on why reason is reason and what this means.
The scope of this lecture is simply breathtaking, but also intelligible to the ordinary mind
In watching my computer and listening to various colleagues the day after this address was given, I felt a kind of hush in the air. Something important had happened, something more than the ordinary went on in Regensburg, something that was addressed to the heart of modernism but also to Islam, our current enigma. When I read the lecture, I understood why.
We are familiar with John Paul II's many academic discourses. These two men, Wojtyla and Ratzinger, are of the same elevated stature, men who speak to us of the highest things when almost no one else will or even can. They can somehow go over the heads of the censors, whatever they are called, in media and politics who will not talk about what is really true.
Benedict brings his own style, his own scope of mind that ranges critically over the whole range of philosophy, history, theology, politics, and ordinary common sense.
This lecture is in the direct line of John Paul II's Fides et Ratio, but with Benedict's more direct emphasis on the distinctiveness of Catholicism and its mind. Not every "ecumenical" idea is a good one. Some ideas are not true, even though untruth can contain some truth.
Benedict, make no doubt, is the clearest and most incisive mind in the public order in the world today
. This fact will not make everyone happy and will make not a few furious. Not everyone, as we are warned in our scriptures, is willing to accept the truth. We should not be naïve about this, nor should we despair of the truth because it is refused. It is a seed that will grow in good ground.
Pope Ratzinger is clearly at home here in Regensburg. He affectionately recalls the many familiar chats, discussions, and, I suppose, arguments in which he participated in its coffee shops and recreation rooms with his students and colleagues. He obviously has fond memories of the place. Indeed, the word "memories" appears in the title of the lecture.
A university, he reminds us --with shades of Ex Corde Ecclesiae -- ought to be a place where the highest things can be spoken of without apology and without fear of reprisal from the political structure of society
or, for that matter, from the political structure of the university itself, no mean feat on either score.
We would be fools if we thought that this freedom to speak the truth is not a serious problem in today's world, particularly when we speak of the Islamic world, a topic with which the pope begins his lecture. Indeed, this may be the first time since Urban II that a pope has formally taken up the question of Islam in any way
It is something that I have often thought was the greatest contemporary need of modern culture and politics, as well as the modern Church
Benedict obviously knows that the proclamation and teaching that God is Triune and that Christ is the incarnate Word, true God and true man -- the central doctrines of the Christian faith -- are not allowed public space in Islamic lands or in Islamic law.
So it is a welcome surprise that he finds a gentle way to talk about precisely this problem from within the historic relations between Islam and Christianity. Furthermore, he talks about it precisely in terms of the theological and rational understanding of God and the world.
[How much significance the above two paragraphs take on, in the light of all that has followed since
This lecture is an almost fierce defense of reason both within philosophy and within the faith. Thus, it is a challenge to both Western and Islamic thought. It is also another effort to recall Europe to what it is, a unique place because of its history -- not just another "culture."
This pope can be amusing. He begins with a reflection that when he taught at the University of Bonn there were two faculties of theology; I presume one was Catholic and one was Protestant. A skeptical professor once quipped of this odd situation that in this university "it had two faculties devoted to something that did not exist: God."
But, of course, Professor Ratzinger did not let the colleague get by with this too facile excuse for not thinking about God. The gentleman's disbelief in God still had to stand the test of reason; it has to justify itself, if it could. When looked at, the reasons for disbelief in God were not all that persuasive
The pope begins the lecture by recalling an encounter, during the siege of Constantinople in the early 1400's, between the learned Byzantine Emperor Manuel II and a wise Persian gentleman on the differences between Islam and Christianity. The very fact that the pope would bring this topic up is a sign that he recognizes the crucial importance of this difference.
As readers know, I have long been advocating that the Catholic Church in particular must begin to tell us what it thinks Islam is, with its claims for an understanding of Allah as pure will, with its denial of otherness in the Godhead or the possibility of the Incarnation
Benedict makes a very significant beginning here, I think. What the pope presents is a very brief, but very incisive critique of the notion that the proper understanding of God is that God can contradict himself in his decrees so that certain political or moral actions are thereby justified as obedience to God.
We should understand the significance of this issue. Can God change his "reason," that is, can he make what was evil to be good or reasonable? Is what is good or evil dependent on a kind of whim of God so that worship of God means following whatever God is said to say even if it is contradictory to what He said previously. Does the Koran negate the Old and New Testaments? Does it negate reason? In other words, is God's revelation stable? Can we rely on its truth to be true everywhere and always
We obviously have the suicide bombers clearly in sight here. We have the jihad here
. Can such things be God's will? Can killing oneself along with innocent others be an act of "martyrdom?" Must we worship God by being "submissive" to such theories? What is the source of such ideas?
What the pope makes clear is that it is not the Christian scripture that would justify such things. In brief, he rejects that central notion that Allah or God is pure will who can make anything right or wrong such that religion means simply "obedience" to whatever is proposed no matter how lethal.
But the pope does not only have Islam in mind. He has universities in view, as well as modern thought and other "cultures." The scope of this lecture is breathtaking.
But essentially, it is first a theology of history -- it was no accident that the early apostles went to Macedonia, to the Greeks with their minds.
The first thing that the early Christian mind had to encounter was mind itself, best represented by the Greeks, perhaps only by them at the time.
What was at stake was this very issue about the Word -- the Logos -- about whether it was a kind of amorphous flux that could be this or that, good or bad, according to whatever it decided.
Or was there a fundamental distinction in things, a realism that would eventually justify science and all else that man has discovered? Science, after all, has certain theological presuppositions that make it possible to be practiced.
This address is likewise a brief history of modern European philosophy -- that philosophy with roots in the two Testaments and in Greek and Roman thought.
But Benedict recognizes that the modern mind is now more relativistic and skeptical. The modern mind doubts that there is reason, and doubts that we can both know and believe. It doubts that faith and reason belong to the same sphere, yet that is what Europe is.
And Europe is not just another "culture," but is the culture in which the confrontation of reason and revelation took place and in which the relations were hammered out
It is not without profound interest that the pope chose precisely a university in which to deliver this lecture. It is not an encyclical. It is not a "doctrinal" statement. It is not a homily.
It is a lecture to a university faculty and to its students -- and not just to those in Regensburg sitting before him
. In this sense it strikes at the very heart of the intellectual acaedia, to the intellectual sloth, of our time, to the refusal to think about the important things with the tools that we have been given.
What we know as universities in the modern world originated in the Church, in a space in which the whole could be talked about
Benedict knows that all disorders in politics and morals originate in the minds of the learned. It is there that we must begin to address our public issues, including that of Islam, but also questions of life, of morality, and of what we are about.
The Holy Father had already made clear in Deus Caritas Es
t that love of our neighbor is not primarily a government project, that justice is not enough, and often is not even a beginning. We simply cannot just talk of "faith" and "justice" without beginning and ending in charity and the reasons for it.
The Christian suspicion is not that we must first be just and then we can be loving and charitable, but that we will, in all likelihood, only be just if we first find caritas. And this realization often means the Cross and suffering, just as Christ taught
But with this lecture we are in heady academic surroundings. All is genteel. All is formal. All is, yes, "intellectual." But it is here where the real battles lie hidden.
What we see in Regensburg are, after Deus Caritas Est, the second shots of the new pope at the heart of what is wrong in our world and its mind. These "shots," however, are designed to do what all good intellectual battle does, namely, to make it possible for us to see again what is true and to live it.
The Regensburg Address, I suspect, will go down as one of those seminal and incisive analyses that tell us who we are and where we are
It will remind us of what we are by teaching us again to think about the God that the skeptics, the dons, the theological faculties, including Muslim faculties, have too often obscured for us.
Civilization depends also on thinking rightly about God and man -- all civilization, not just European or Muslim. Such is the reach of this lecture.
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 17/09/2006 16.26]
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 12/17/2007 8:15 AM]
| 9/24/2006 3:18 PM
Registered in: 9/3/2005
Here are two German news sites with roundups of the Papal visit, photos and video
ZDF papal visit
I apologise if I am reposting these links - a German friend sent them to me while I was away and I am still not up to date with all forum business. Enchoy, anyway
| 9/25/2006 12:09 AM
Registered in: 11/27/2005
A very uplifting interview with Father John Neuhaus was to be seen on EWTN yesterday - The World Over.
Father Neuhaus's summing up of the situation:
This will go down in history as:
"The Regensburg Moment of Truth"
Love and Peace to all friends here, Mary x
| 9/25/2006 2:32 AM
Registered in: 11/19/2005
This will go down in history as:
"The Regensburg Moment of Truth"
That it will!!!
| 9/25/2006 3:53 AM
Registered in: 11/24/2005
As per my message to Lori in my 9/27 post below, I have transferred this post about an aging rock singer's reaction to the Pope's Regensburg lecture to ODDS AND ENDS. Lori, I hope you don't mind.
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 27/09/2006 19.40]
| 9/27/2006 3:31 PM
Cat who? Why does the media think this guy's opinion is worth writing about?
: Oh wait, I know the answer, they're willing to publish anyone's opinion as long as it bashes the pope.
On a lighter note, Clare sent me some German newspapers that she had gotten from her trip to Bavaria. She wanted me to post this drawing. This little drawing was in the newspaper Allgauer Zeitung. Here it shows a Bavarian lion relaxing under a Papa sun.
I can't help but think of that song:
You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are gray
You'll never know, dear
How much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away
"To believe in the brotherhood of man without the Fatherhood of God would make men a race of bastards." -Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen