Posted 16 September 2006 - 03:35 PM
you probably know the recent statement of the pope Benedict 16th that Islam didn't bring anything good, just evil, that it was spread by sword and that God of Islam has nothing to do with God of Christians.
I think that peace (among religions) is hard to establish and maintain, while it can be demolished with just one wrong gesture. The pope has been in the politics of the Roman Catholic Church for so long that he shouldn't lack a sense of diplomacy. How do you understand his statement?
I saw on the blog here that Lama Shenphen Rinpoche was in Kyoto on the conference of religious leaders for the world peace. What was the common ground that enabled the dialogue among the religions?
Do you believe that peaceful coexistence among the world religions is possible?
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Posted 16 September 2006 - 04:28 PM
Just for the sake of clarity: the pope didn't state this as his own opinion, he only quoted it in his speech. Regardless of this, his speech still qualifies as a "faux pas" , as the French say. The quote is taken from one debate that took place in the Middle Ages, probably in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara- the author of the statement is the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus. Here is the controversial part: "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." Here you can find the Benedict's speech.
It seems that Ratzinger/Benedict the XVIth is a conservative hard-liner, who has been hiding behind diplomatic language, yet his beliefs are beginning to surface... Note that he didn't apologize for the mistake, he even declined to deal with the matter personally and instead send someone else to explain "the misunderstanding". The quotation is completely inappropriate given the delicate timing, the position the Muslim faith is in, and the bloody history of the Catholic church. Even more, Ratzinger was as a cardinal in charge of the Congregation for purity of faith (or something like this) - the direct descendant of the infamous inqusition!? I even heard once, that he disagreed with the previous pope about apologizing for the deeds of the inquisition (not sure if this is true, though).
But is the quote really a mistake? Surely pontiff's speeches are checked/edited in advance by a few people (ghost writers). Benedict already said that his plan is to evangelize Europe again. If this is true, he might not be that ecstatic about the huge number of Muslims on the continent...
Benedict and German chancellor Angela Merkel (who already defended pope's speech) are again demanding that "Christian roots" of today's Europe are included in the preamble of the so-called Constitution for Europe. This would only further increase the unequal treatment of different religions...
Posted 16 September 2006 - 11:35 PM
It is true that the pontiff was quoting in his sermon on faith and reason the medieval text, but did he rebut the attitude of his Catholic predecessor? Not yet, despite the call of numerous Muslim leaders all over the world for an apologize. He regrets just their interpretations, not his statement.
It is astonishing, nevertheless. Did he forget that the inquisitions continued through almost the whole millennium (1184-1834)? Maybe this could be written in the Preamble of the European Constitution? Just joking, but the influence on the European culture and mentality can hardly be denied. With Leonardo's words: â€œTruly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them!â€
Yet, in the same religion we can find also such statements: â€œThe nations of the world are becoming more and more dependent on one another and it will not be possible to preserve a lasting peace so long as glaring economic and social imbalances persist. (...) The true and solid peace of nations consists not in equality of arms but in mutual trust alone.â€ (Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, 1963). I wish that Benedict XVI trod this path, making effort to build trust, not to destroy it.
Until there are exceptions, I believe in the inter-religious dialogue. There are many paths up the Mountain.
Posted 17 September 2006 - 11:17 PM
The pope now apologized in person, but in a bit lame way . He said: "I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims." So he is not sorry for what he said, but for the reactions of the others . Not surprisingly something similar happened in Slovenia. Representatives of the Slovene Catholic church opposed to the building of the mosque in the past (now they seem to agree with it), they also insulted Buddhists and spoke untruth about Buddhism and Buddhist and failed to apologize.
Some Muslims are not satisfied with what pope said and demand a non-evasive apology. On the other hand the Muslims seem to oppose very loudly, when someone hints at using terrorism in the name of Muslim faith (pope statement, Danish caricatures), but seem to be less loud (or at least less heard) in the international public when the abuses of Muslim faith for the sake of terrorist actions take place. Also, it was now reported that a catholic nun was shot in Somalia, perhaps as a sort of revenge against the pope - and there was no apology/regret for this act. And some extreme groups already threatened the pope - perhaps proving that there was some truth in what he said (about spreading of the religion with the sword).
Posted 18 September 2006 - 02:56 PM
The whole controversy can be viewed simply as a power play. You have probably noticed the difference in responses when the caricatures drew public attention and in the recent â€œincidentâ€. Caricatures are a genre with a different weight, aim and effect than a public talk of a political leader such as Pope. Public personas have completely different responsibility. They should be taken as such. Against the logic, politicians of the Western world rose voices against the caricatures, but not against the Pope's public speech! Just the opposite: Germany, Italy and Switzerland stood up to support the Pope.
The recent event could be seen as a litmus paper for a) basic tolerance and openness for the inter-religious dialogue, actual (dis)balance of political-religious powers.