The first modern experience the Holy See had with Islamic terror was in St. Peter’s square on 13 May 1981.
The Soviets wanted JP2 dead. They asked the Bulgarians to help and they found someone predisposed to shoot a Pope: Mehmet Ali AÃ„Å¸ca, an Islamic Turk.
Sure there were other factors, political and economic. The fact remains that an Islamic Turk shot the Pope.
Rhetorical question: Where is the continuing denunciation of this outrageous act of violence on the part of the muslim world? Was there any in 1981?
Pope Benedict XVI’s Regensburg Address has this momentous event for a backdrop.
Pope Benedict XVI has brought this whole issue into the bright light of day via his remarks in Regensburg, which I am starting to call The Regensburg Address. I think this talk will have historic repercussion and we will look back at it one day as being very significant. The Pope is a smart man, surrounded by smart people who must have also read his address ahead of time and advised him about the possible repercussions. The Pope decided to read that text and not some other text. It is not out of the question that the Pope understood that many would take his remarks badly. Surely he did not want people injured or killed. He cannot, however, remain silent in the face of the suffering of so many Christians, and others, in repressive Islamic states.
The Pope made serious points concerning the reality of Christian Islamic dialog. Here is one I take from the Address: Is it really possible? If it is possible in some effective and valuable way (and I am not convinced that it is) it must be conducted on the basis of method of reason which does not seem to be in keeping with Islamic tenets about the nature of God. Perhaps the best we can hope for is effective dialog with Islamic states rather than with Islamic religious leaders. I don’t know. Of course, in The Regensburg Address His Holiness also identified the pathology inflicting Western thought on theology and metaphysics, religion and reason. The talk was aimed straight at the alienation of reason and religion and metaphysics and science, etc.
In any event, the Vatican already has had some up close and personal experience of Islamic terror. I think Peter has something to say to the Islamic world as well as to the West.