Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Ooops! Did I do that?" Pope Benedict XVI

Was Pope Benedict's
speech at Regensburg University really just an academic exercise and an invitation to the Islamic world to dialogue? I don't think so and neither do many other folks. One of those is George Friedman in a piece called "Faith, Reason and Politics: Parsing the Pope's Remarks" reprinted at The Pugil Stick.

...the pope knew that his remarks at Regensburg would come under heavy criticism from Muslims. He also knew that this criticism would continue despite any gestures of contrition. Thus, with his remarks, he moved toward closer alignment with those who are uneasy about Europe's Muslim community -- without adopting their own, more extreme, sentiments. That move increases his political strength among these groups and could cause them to rally around the church. At the same time, the pope has not locked himself into any particular position. And he has delivered his own warning to Europe's Muslims about the limits of tolerance.

...Benedict delivered a well-thought-out statement. It is also obvious that the Vatican had no illusions as to how the Muslim world would respond. The statement contained a verbal blast, crafted in a way that allowed Benedict to maintain plausible deniability. Indeed, the pope already has taken the exit, noting that these were not his thoughts but those of another scholar. The pope and his staff were certainly aware that this would make no difference in the grand scheme of things, save for giving Benedict the means for distancing himself from the statement when the inevitable backlash occurred. Indeed, the anger in the Muslim world remained intense, and there also have been emerging pockets of anger among Catholics over the Muslim world's reaction to the pope, considering the history of Islamic attacks against Christianity. Because he reads the newspapers -- not to mention the fact that the Vatican maintains a highly capable intelligence service of its own -- Benedict also had to have known how the war was going, and that his statement likely would aid Bush politically, at least indirectly. Finally, he would be aware of the political dynamics in Europe and that the statement would strengthen his position with the church's base there.

Masterful work Benny has done here. Accuse without accussing, condemn without condemning, apologize while only saying, "Ooops! Did I do that?" Masterful and bold.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


atheling2 said...

Indeed he's done it so well that some don't get it. Like Michael Medved.

dcat said...

It makes me sick that he was compelled to apologize!

Indigo Red said...

I'm not sure and I don't know Benedict personally, but I think an apology was anticipated because the Pope didn't actually apologize for his remarks. He said basically, 'I'm sorry you all feel offended and I invite you to in to talk about the situation.'

We have lost the ability to understand and even recognize statemanship when it's presented. Benedict is a Papal Statetsman, and a very good one.

atheling2 said...

From Daniel Pipes:

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the secretary of state, indicated that the pope "sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful." Then, in what may be an unprecedented step by a pope, Benedict himself proffered the sort of semi-apology often favored by those feeling the heat.

"I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address," reads the official Vatican translation into English, "which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims. These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought."

In the Italian original, however, Benedict says only sono rammaricato, which translates as "I am disappointed" or "I regret."

Sounds like the translation to from the English speaking press makes it sound more like an apology than an expression of disappointment to the reactions of rabid Muslims.

Indigo Red said...

That's how I read the Italian statement - 'Sorry y'all feel that way, but tough!'

Benedict is not going to apologize. The worst the mohamaddans can do is kill him. But he's IL PAPA! How's going to heaven supposed to be a bad thing?

Besides, the Church will just elect another Pope. One does not kill the Pope and Catholic Church by killing the man in the Red Shoes.

atheling2 said...

Did you know that those red shoes are Prada? Yes, the Pope wears Prada.

Anyway, if they kill him they will only succeed in uniting Catholics in an all out war against Islam. There will be hell to pay.

dcat said...

You got that right atheling2!

Indigo Red said...

"The Pope wears Prada"

Wasn't there a movie with that title?

atheling2 said...


Mike H. said...

He's getting a truthful response from Islam's reaction. Three catholics were executed yesterday. They were called terrorists but a number of groups felt that they were railroaded. The libs are crowing about how two faced the right is about trying to get them a fair trial. Three women are serving three year sentences because they tried to convert some teenagers to christianity. Both situations occurred in Indonesia

Bonnie said...

iemlGood strategy on the Pope's part: Let me antagonize them to the point that they show their behinds in a big way so that the Leftist Liberal Panty-Waist Wusses will wake up and SMELL THE COFFEE! There was no apology needed on his part, and he handled it well, with bravery and aplomb. I'm not even Catholic and I applaud him. Nice post.

Tom C said...

Hmm.... I havn't practiced my faith in years but still consider myself to be catholic.

dcat said...

Me too Tom C

Some times the Jewish grandma comes out though.
The gypsy spells and all!

I am a real witch!

atheling2 said...

tom c:

Some say once a Catholic, always a Catholic... I dunno...

dcat: do the world a favor and cast a spell over Islam so it disappears from the face of the earth!