Tuesday, September 19, 2006


A few good articles to think about on the recent uproar created by Pope Benedict XVI:

Time's Jeff Israely has a good piece...

The Pontiff Has a Point
His take on Islam, however clumsy, raises tough truths about reason and religion

The American Thinker, of course, has a couple solid articles...

The Pope’s Dilemma

The Pope, Jihad, and “Dialogue”

And a clip from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies...

INTERFAITH DIALOGUE: In a scholarly address last week, Pope Benedict XVI quoted the Christian Emperor Manuel II Paleologos (1350-1425) saying: "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."

There are two parts to that statement. One can understand why the view -- Paleologos' view, not Pope B16's -- that Islam brought "only evil and inhuman" innovations might give offensive. But such a view is tame compared to what many Saudi and Iranian clerics preach now, in the 21st century, about Christianity, Judaism and other religions.

As for spreading the Islamic faith through the sword, that is incontestably what both Shia and Sunni Militant Islamists continue to advocate. The Ayatollah Khomeini wrote: "Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors!"

Surely, this is a view that deserves further consideration and discussion. Perhaps Pope Benedict XVI should consider saying something like this:

Some of our Muslims friends have taken offense at my remarks. We understand that, and we are distressed by it.

We would hope our friends also understand that there are Christians, Jews and indeed moderate Muslims who believe they have cause for offense -- at a time when Militant Muslims routinely justify mass murder in the name of Islam.

And the other day in Gaza, two journalists, both Christians, were forced to convert -- not by the sword but at gunpoint, a distinction without a difference. If there was outrage over this act by those now protesting what we have said, word of it did not reach our ears.

We would ask that violence and anger subside and that serious dialogue begin.

We are therefore planning to invite several leading Muslim religious leaders to visit us here in the Vatican for inter-faith discussions. The Vatican has long welcomed people of all faiths.

We would ask that Muslim religious leaders invite us to continue the conversation in Mecca. Religious authorities have in the past insisted that Mecca was off-limits to non-Muslims. Is it not time to end this archaic and intolerant prohibition?

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