Tuesday, September 19, 2006
The Pope’s remarks. A Matter of the Academic Triumphing Over the Pastoral?
Crusaders vs. Saracens
What are Pope Benedict’s real opinions regarding Islam? Was Islam even an intended target of his remarks? Christopher Blosser is the webmaster for the Ratzingerfanclub. On his blog, Against the Grain, he has put up a very helpful post called So what DOES Pope Benedict XVI think about Islam?, in which he presents the remarks made when the Holy Father spoke at length about his opinions concerning Islam in Cologne on World Youth Day. They are worth taking a close look at.
Here is an audio interview I heard this morning concerning the whole flap with John Allen and author James Reston. I think John Allen does a pretty good job here of putting the whole thing in context. If there was an intended target in his speech, does it appear to have been Islam, or Western secularists steeped in scientism?
In trying to make a point about faith and reason, Benedict, who is uncomfortable criticizing the Church’s past or admitting Church errors, may have unwisely chosen Islam for an anecdote about faith and reason, without intending to target Islam at all. At first, I had a hard time believing that he may have chosen words carelessly, but I am wondering now if this was just an unintentional gaffe on his part. The Holy Father has spent most of his life in academia, and actually has very little pastoral experience. Did that lack of experience come into play here? Speaking in an academic setting, and having found a quote which seemed to fit the bill for what he was trying to say, did he simply fail to take into account what the effect of his words might be? Is that the real story behind the story?