Samuel Gregg on Benedict XVI’s Regensburg Address and Islamic Jihadism

At NRO be sure to take in every word of Samuel Gregg’s exceptional answers in a short interview on questions that have to be asked about Islam. Gregg brings us back in particular to Benedict XVI’s insightful Regensburg Address.

Here is a sample:

GREGG: Benedict’s lecture is ever relevant because one of its central arguments is that a religion’s understanding of God’s nature has immense implications for its capacity to live peacefully with those who do not share the same faith or, for that matter, have no religious faith. A religion that regards God as sheer Will, operating above and beyond reason, cannot ultimately object to the notion that such a God may command its adherents to do unreasonable things. For if God is ultimately unreasonable and the Creator of the universe, then so too are the people created in His image. Hence, if such an unreasonable God commands equally unreasonable humans to do something utterly irrational — such as slaughter cartoonists, fly planes into buildings, axe to death Jews praying peacefully in a synagogue, behead Christian children in the Middle East, kill Nigerian as Boko Haram has done, the list is endless — not only can we not object on grounds that such actions are unreasonable and intrinsically evil, but we must simply submit to the irrational Deity’s desire for blood. In other words, whether we like it or not, there is a theological and religious dimension to what happened in Paris — and what is happening in Syria and Iraq, what occurred on 9/11, and what Islamic jihadists keep doing all around the world — and we ignore this at our own peril. That’s another reason why it is so embarrassing and self-defeating for people like President Obama, President Hollande, and Prime Minister David Cameron to go on repeating, mantra-like, that Islamic jihadism has nothing to do with Islam. Of course it has something to do with Islam. That’s why it’s called Islamic jihadism. [If we don’t admit that what is going on is also a religious war, we won’t be able to deal with the challenges we face effectively.]

Q: Why was Regensburg so controversial at the time?

GREGG: It was controversial because in one relatively short address (one that I think will be remembered as one of the 21st century’s most important talks), Pope Benedict managed to upset a number of groups. First, by highlighting the central theological issue — Is the Islamic understanding of God that He is primarily or purely Voluntas? — that must be addressed if Islamic jihadism is to be countered, he annoyed not just some Muslims but also those liberal Westerners who want to treat Islamic jihadism as if theology and religion have nothing to do with it. Many professional interfaith dialoguers also didn’t like the Regensburg address because it highlighted just how much of their discussion was utterly peripheral to the main game and consisted in many instances of happy talk that avoided any serious conversation about the real differences that exist between many religions. It also annoyed those who believe that all religions are ultimately the same and of equal worth. That’s obviously not true, but saying such things in a relativistic world that is increasingly “uncomfortable” with reasoned argument (let alone logic) and more at ease with feelings talk is bound to make you plenty of enemies today.

[…]

Sam writes and speaks with great clarity.   Go there and read the rest.

For more on the Regensburg Address…

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27 Responses to Samuel Gregg on Benedict XVI’s Regensburg Address and Islamic Jihadism

  1. Kathleen10 says:

    There are only two viable options, conversion or elimination.
    I had a very liberal friend tell me just the other day that the problem is not with Islam and that “Islam and Christianity have a lot in common.” When so many are spiritually blind to this degree they aren’t going to want to hear about either option. We have much to pray for.

  2. LarryW2LJ says:

    Not sure how or when we got into this philosophy of “Maybe if we ignore it, it will just go away.” It’s frustrating because the problem is there, as plain as day, and yet the media and politicians are so vehemently opposed to acknowledging it.

    I hate to say it, but here also lies the fruit of the feminization process.

  3. catholictrad says:

    Kathleen10, I believe separation is also an option. After the recovery of Spain from the Moors, they were allowed to leave, but not allowed to remain and spread their errors.

  4. Phil_NL says:

    Nail it. He. Absolutely. Nailed. It.

    The only thing that’s a shame about this piece is that it wasn’t longer, as there remain some open questions (in particular what then prevents islam from being reformable, and if you dig deeper into that, the picture becomes ever bleaker).

    And I’m afraid there are no real solutions. (also in response to katleen10 and catholictrad)

    Conversion is of course by far the desirbale outcome, yet islam is internally quite consistent: once one accepts the first premises of islam, we end up in a situation where, in the words of mr Gregg “(one) cannot ultimately object to the notion that such a God may command its adherents to do unreasonable things.” And those unreasonable things include brainwashing and even murdering those who seek to leave islam or cause others to leave islam. On top of that, this situation makes any argument that the consequence of islam are unreasonable, or that islam itself is unreasonable, powerless in the service of conversion. Reason itself cannot be applied, it falls in barren ground.

    Separation is, in this day and age, with international travel and widely intermingeld populations, also not much of an option. Elimination of islam begets horrible thoughts, though if islam is going to make itself utterly impossible to live with, then we might turn that dark corner some day. Let’s pray it doesn’t get to that.

    Lastly, I once saw 10 minutes or so of a very bad movie, the title thankfully forgotten, but there was one pearl of wisdom in it. paraphrasing: “What is the most powerful parasite there is?” “A bad idea; impossible to get rid of”. The bad ideas inherent in islam won’t go away. It would already be a great thing if we can keep a lid on it.

  5. James C says:

    The Regensburg address was criticised by a certain South American archbishop who is now Pope. It is safe to assume that the Church’s Islam policy has changed with the change in pontificates. It is no coincidence that Francis’s first trip as pope was to Lampedusa. Who will have their feet washed in Rome this Holy Thursday? We shall see.

  6. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    ” If we don’t admit that what is going on is also a religious war, we won’t be able to deal with the challenges we face effectively.”

    Also?

    It is overwhelmingly a religious war (on one side) but the modern western state cannot imagine that religion is powerful enough to lead to war, esp. as Christianity has gotten beyond it.

  7. Imrahil says:

    On the other hand, Reinhard Raffalt, who is a very traditional Catholic, writes this in “Where does the Vatican steer to?” (pp. 219f. in German):

    The Vatican claims to describe the position it takes today in the Middle-East conflict with the word “equality of distances”. The terminus can only have been chosen wishing to disguise the true facts and circumstances. For equality of distance never existed – neither on Rome’s nor on the partners’ side. It is true that all the involved mixed religious arguments and political means. But the relationship of Catholic Church and Jewish people never admitted comparison to the interaction of Rome and Islam. Church and Jewry ever sinse antiquity were hostile against each other with that kind of hostility wherein the one powerful hates the weak one, and is hated by the weak one, with both of them taking recourse [amongst other things – addition by me] to irrational grounds. On the other hand, the history of the conflict of Rome and Islam is the history of the collision of to variants of the same claim to universality. Church and Synagogue are in historical discord. Church and Caliphate both set out to form human society according to the revealed will of God. […]

    Or as I heard someone say (there are some protests against Muslims, at the moment, in Germany): “I’ve got to take a look at these protesters first. I wonder whether what they intend to defend is ‘Christian occident’ really, or rather is ‘Western freedom from religion’. Muslims are almost more sympathetic to me compared with laicists.”

  8. Supertradmum says:

    James C. the Pope went to Lampedusa because of the huge, horrible humanitarian crisis, not because of Islam. I was in Malta and watched the television of people dying in boats and of hunger risking their lives to get out of war-torn and totally impoverished areas.

    As Catholics, this is our duty to help those people.

    Unless Catholics stop being pacifists, we shall be enslaved by those who have trained for real war.

    Sometimes, one has to fight. That time is coming, but most Catholics just do not see it, to their own peril and disgrace.

  9. The Masked Chicken says:

    Gregg’s Q and A was very refreshing, although I would not be quite as pessimistic to the point of despair. Man has no choice but to reason. He is not a puppet, no matter how much Islam thinks it is. If man were, there would be no notion of sin and there would be no concept of God as being merciful if there is no such thing as sin. If man can resist God, he does so for a reason (rightly or wrongly). In other words, no matter what Islam claims, it can’t escape the reality that God endowed man with reason. That, right there, is a crack in the claims of consistency in the Islamic religion. There will come a time when there are certain questions that are beyond the Koran to answer and appeal must be made to reason. Once that happens, it will become increasingly harder and harder for Islam to claim that God is merely Will. One reason that they haven’t had to deal with this internal contradiction is because there are no advanced Islamic countries that deal with questions sophisticated enough to escape the periphery of Koran, yet. Hopefully, such a thing will happen. The acceptance of God as, primarily, Will, stifled technological development in Islamic countries from the 13th-century, on. That era is coming to an end and the threat to Islam and what makes it so desperate, I hope (it may be a false hope), is that it will collapse from within as people are forced to reason about questions that are not easily answered by appeal to the Koran.

    Time will tell.

    The Chicken

  10. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    1% of people think.
    2% of people think they think.
    97% of people would rather die than rethink.

    Do you know anyone born in the year 1923 or earlier? That was the year that the caliphate (Ottoman Empire) was official abolished. A person born in that year or earlier would know about the caliphate. We today do not know what it is like to live with a caliphate. We are not prepared for what the islamic state is bringing to the table. (Heck, most people don’t even know what the word “khalif” means…)

    We think they’re a bunch of crazy bloodthirsty barbarians. They think they’re cleaning up the mess left behind by the traitor Ataturk. We think that if we ignore them, they’ll just go away. They’re clearly intending to stick around for the remainder of this century and beyond.

    Refuse to take the islamic state seriously at your peril.

  11. Traductora says:

    Chicken, Islam has very successfully escaped the challenge of reason since its inception. The only time anything ever comes out of Islamic cultures is for about 1 generation after they have taken over that culture and there are still remnants of its rational basis. Don’t forget that shortly before the Muslims overran Spain, Isidore of Sevilla had written a compendium of all human knowledge…including quotes from Classical sources, which must have been known to the Spanish (the heirs to Rome) even after the Fall of Rome. Islam stamped out things one after another, and the only break that Spain got was that some of the Muslim caliphs (and there were several competing parties) weren’t desert Arabs like Mohammed, but were from recently conquered and Islamicized groups, such as the Baghdadis or the Persians, so that even these groups still had some memory of their former culture. But Islam in its historical trajectory has proved that you do not need reason to survive…simply superior force.

    They don’t care about the fact that their countries are pits of poverty and ruin, with a tiny wealthy class, mostly religiously connected, living high off the hog in a way that even European monarchs could never have imagined.

    You also have to realize that Muslims from the start, when Mohammed was a camel train raider, made their living off of kidnapping, slave-trading and collecting ransom for hostages, just as they are doing now (witness the Japanese hostages, one of whom is probably a stooge because he apparently was a Muslim convert who left Japan to join ISIS). Reason isn’t necessary for that.

    And BXVI was absolutely right in his analysis of Islam. Its real problem, of course, is that it’s a false religion based on force to the benefit of the clerical/ruling class, and it rejects reason and natural law as a result, since if they were permitted, they would rip the curtain off of the Great and Powerful and non-existent Allah. Their version of God is a syncretist pastiche of bits of paganism and bits of the Old Testament, along with a distorted concept of “prophet,” with a few New Testament figures thrown in. It’s no more susceptible to rational analysis than is Mormonism, which is very similar to it in a host of ways, with its golden tablets “found” by a flim-flam man who searched for buried treasure by looking through his hat. And which was also very vicious and violent when it had the power to be so, as all cults are.

    So you’re right in one aspect, a rational analysis would destroy it, which it cannot do to Christianity, which is extremely rational. But otherwise, it survives only on violence and fear.

  12. Phil_NL says:

    Dear Chicken,

    If only it were so. Sadly, it is worse. For islam, the use of reason itself is sin, if it leads man to deviate from his role as puppet. The question if the reasons for resisting god – in the islamic understanding – are good or not cannot be asked; by definition the reasons are irrelevant and sinful. There are islamic commentators who take this to its logical extreme: if allah wants it, we are to practice idolatry (in other words, to deny allah). In other words: the islamic concept of god is not bound by reason, not bound by consistency, not bound by anything. And that means you can fill in this concept with whatever you like, and still be impervious to reason.

    The only discussion islam accepts is if something is according to the quran, hadith etc. – and even there any new reasoning has been disallowed for centuries.

    Now as for things islam cannot explain, cannot comprehend: that is no hindrance whatsoever. islam cannot comprehend the world as it is, where muslims aren’t the ‘top dog’, but are surpassed in just about everything by infidels. No matter; it is as allah wants it, and perhaps (on top of that) it is a punishment for not being extreme enough.

    In sum, this is the true, freightening consistency of islam: once the first premise is accepted, it forces the believer to disregard further reason; the person intellectually ‘shuts down’ as it were. This serves the self-preservation of islam, and one has to admit one thing: at that, it is exceedingly good.
    Therefore, I’m quite pessimistic regarding any intellectual assault on islam. Sadly enough.

  13. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    A practical note: Samuel Gregg recommends Fr. Samir Khalil Samir’s 111 Questions on Islam. For some reason, NRO links to amazon where outrageous prices are being asked for it, when it is still available directly from Ignatiuus for $14.41 (download version, $11.02)!

    His answer to the question, “Can Catholics help Muslims reform?” includes, “This assumes of course that Islam can change, which I think one would have to say is an open question at this point. […] The second thing for Catholics to do is to point to the way in which orthodox Catholicism’s intense respect for natural reason — the natural law — has allowed it to work its way through any number of questions […] it’s not clear to me that Islam can replicate this, given some of its fundamental theological claims about God and man, but I certainly hope some Muslims try.” This seems very much in keeping with the analysis in the Regensburg address (if I understand it correctly). The English translation is available here:

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2006/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20060912_university-regensburg_en.html

    The sample passage above makes me think more detailed exposition by Samuel Gregg would be welcome on the distinctions between when “an unreasonable God commands equally unreasonable humans to do something utterly irrational” and when the use of deadly force is not considered inconsistent with “God’s nature as Logos: Divine Reason itself.” (For example, John Melody notes in his 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia article, “Blasphemy”, “In the time of Justinian […] In a constitution of A.D. 538 the people are called upon to abstain from blasphemy, which provokes God to anger. The prefect of the city is commanded to apprehend all such as shall persist in their offence after this admonition and put them to death,” and “according to a law enacted at the Diet of Aachen, A.D. 818, this sin was a capital offence”, and, on a less than deadly level, in the Constitution “Cum primum apostolatus” of Pius V, with respect to the layman, “For the second offence he was flogged, and for the third his tongue was pierced, and he was sentenced to the galleys.”)

  14. marcelus says:

    James C says:
    21 January 2015 at 10:52 am
    The Regensburg address was criticised by a certain South American archbishop who is now Pope. It is safe to assume that the Church’s Islam policy has changed with the change in pontificates. It is no coincidence that Francis’s first trip as pope was to Lampedusa. Who will have their feet washed in Rome this Holy Thursday? We shall see.

    Wrong wrong wronng….. PLease read before posting.

    It was Fr. Marco who ALLEDGEDLY isreported as saying that., not Bergoglio.

    Do not forget Benedict apologized to the muslim after his lecture,

    Benedict XVI, speech apologizing for his comments on Islam, Sept. 2006: “In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, thus arousing understandable indignation. I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Qur’an, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion.”

  15. Phil_NL says:

    Dear Imrahil,

    The persons who feel that “Muslims are almost more sympathetic to me compared with laicists.” are deranged. Just because muslims are religious, it doesn’t mean islam is civilized, nor that the agenda of islam is free of political ideology – in fact, it’s full of it. Laicism may be capable of the – in historical terms – brief burst of violence and misery. islam is capable of extinguishing everything one holds dear for centuries, if not forever.

    As for the ‘apology’ by BXVI, as quoted by marcelus, I believe that was the best worded non-apology in years. “the respect due to the holy book of a great religion” should simply be read: I see it as a serious competitor, that might prevent me from getting my point across. It’s the respect ‘due’ a great adversary, and the basis for that respect is not its contents, but its ability to wreak havoc.
    Catholicism does, thankfully, not have the islamic concept which makes outright lying towards the unbelievers an accepted tactic, but that doesn’t mean one cannot be deliberately vague or use words that have a double meaning if that suits us. It wasn’t in our interests, BXVI must have believed, to add fuels to that particular flame, but it doesn’t serve to backtrack from the truth either. And the Regensburg adress contained the truth (not just w.r.t. islam, by the way).

  16. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Imrahil & Phil_NL,

    With respect to “Muslims […] compared with laicists, ” some further food for thought: John Stonestreet, in his 16 January commentary:

    http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/26699

    reprinted at Lifesite News, quotes Rod Dreher favourably that “the decadence represented by ‘Charlie Hebdo’ is probably a greater threat to Western civilization than anything the Islamists can dream up.”

    In the 12 January post which he links, Mr. Dreher also says, both “I would a thousand times prefer to live under the regime of Charlie Hebdo-ism than Islam”, and “We are morally compelled to defend artists and journalists against those who would kill them for what they draw or say. But we should be clear that we are defending one culture of death from another one.”

  17. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Samuel Gregg refers to “an article published in 2012 in the Holy See’s semi-official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano” where “Benedict observed that, over time, it had become apparent that Vatican II had been insufficiently attentive to the fact that there are ‘sick and distorted forms of religion.’ ”

    Does anyone have a link to an (official) English translation of this?

  18. LeGrandDerangement says:

    Regarding the choices that Islam offers “unbelievers” in their power, I have read there are three: (a) conversion (b) death (c) dhimmitude, whereby the unbeliever is allowed to remain, but pays a high tax called the “jizyah.”

  19. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Another morsel of food for thought with respect to “Muslims […] compared with laicists”. In a 14 January article in the (London) Telegraph, Christina Odone says, “Two years ago, I wrote No God Zone, an e-book predicting that strident secularism would push religion out of public life in the West. I had under-estimated the dangers to people of faith – the enemies come from two sides, not one. Secularists once sought only a separation between Church and State; today they want to purge all signs of religion from all public space: the staff at Charlie Hebdo said they did not want to hear the bells of Notre Dame mourning their colleagues’ murders. Salman Rushdie weighed in, saying religion, as a ‘mediaeval form of unreason’, is the enemy.” She also posits a plausible manner in which this might be achieved: “Soon Europe, even London, the much-vaunted bastion of multiculturalism, will become No God Zones, banning any public display of religiosity. ‘For your own good’, the authorities will tell their pious citizens, ‘you must carry out your ancient rituals in secret. We cannot vouch for your safety otherwise.’ ”

    Indeed, the bogus miscontruction of ‘religion’ exemplified by the Rushdie quotation, is one of the main things the Regensburg address tackles (if I understand it aright).

  20. marcelus says:

    By 2030 Belgium wil have a Muslim mayority. Like one of their leaders put it: Unless non muslim turn polygamous, there is no way they can catch up.

    Europe is doomed sadly I believe, same goes for Germany, not to mention France, who has some 6/7 m muslim citizens. All likely to be seduced by speeches such as Isis’s.

  21. marcelus says:

    Phil_NL says:
    22 January 2015 at 12:55 am
    Dear Imrahil,

    “As for the ‘apology’ by BXVI, as quoted by marcelus, I believe that was the best worded non-apology in years. “the respect due to the holy book of a great religion” should simply be read: I see it as a serious competitor, that might prevent me from getting my point across. It’s the respect ‘due’ a great adversary, and the basis for that respect is not its contents, but its ability to wreak havoc.”

    Interesting way of looking at BXVI apologies, do not share, but still interesting, an apology is just that,: an apology.

    Popes, particularly the previous 2 have had a wider and far morebenevolent view on Islam than catholics would like to think or admit, coming down hard on the present Pontiff as if nothing was said before except critizism of islam.

    Lets not forget St.JP2’s comment: “God protect Islam” and him kissing the quran.

    Even though Benedict is clearly correct in his statement in his lexcture, we must not forget that he also said or wrote the following on Islam:

    Dec 1, 2006 — ISTANBUL (Reuters) – “Pope Benedict ended a sensitive, fence-mending visit to Turkey on Friday amid praise for visiting Istanbul’s famed Blue Mosque and praying there facing toward Mecca like Muslims.… The Pope’s dreaded visit was concluded with a wonderful surprise,’ wrote daily Aksam on its front page. In Sultan Ahmet Mosque, he turned toward Mecca and prayed like Muslims,…”
    Benedict XVI, Address, Dec. 22, 2006: “My visit to Turkey afforded me the opportunity to show also publicly my respect for the Islamic Religion,a respect, moreover, which the Second Vatican Council (declaration Nostra Aetate #3) pointed out to us as an attitude that is only right
    Benedict XVI, General Audience, Dec. 6, 2006: “In the area of interreligious dialogue, divine Providence granted me, almost at the end of my Journey, an unscheduled Visit which proved rather important: my Visit to Istanbul’s famous Blue Mosque. Pausing for a few minutes of recollection in that place of prayer, I addressed the one Lord of Heaven and Earth, the Merciful Father of all humanity.”
    Benedict XVI, Truth and Tolerance, 2004, p. 204: “In Hinduism (which is actually a collective name for a whole multitude of religions) there are some marvelous elements but there are also negative aspects: involvement with the caste system; suttee [self immolation] for widows, which developed from beginnings that were merely symbolic; offshoots of the cult of the goddess Sakti – all these might be mentioned to give just a little idea. Yet even Islam, with all the greatness it represents, is always in danger of losing balance, letting violence have a place and letting religion slide away into mere outward observance and ritualism.”
    Benedict XVI, Catechesis, August 24, 2005: “This year is also the 40th anniversary of the conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate, which has ushered in a new season of dialogue and spiritual solidarity between Jews and Christians, as well as esteem for the other great religious traditions. Islam occupies a special place among them.”
    Benedict XVI, Address, Sept. 25, 2006: “I would like to reiterate today all the esteem and the profound respect that I have for Muslim believers, calling to mind the words of the Second Vatican Council which for the Catholic Church are the magna Carta of Muslim-Catholic dialogue: ‘The Church looks upon Muslims with respect. They worship the one God living and subsistent… At this time when for Muslims the spiritual journey of the month of Ramadan is beginning, I address to all of them my cordial good wishes, praying that the Almighty may grant them serene and peaceful lives. May the God of peace fill you with the abundance of his Blessings, together with the communities you represent!
    Benedict XVI, General Audience, Dec. 6, 2006: “I thus had the favorable opportunity to renew my sentiments of esteem for the Muslims and for the Islamic civilizations.”
    Benedict XVI, Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith, 2002, p. 273: “… Islam, too, has inherited from Israel and the Christians the same God…”
    Finally:
    Benedict XVI, speech apologizing for his comments on Islam, Sept. 2006: “In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, thus arousing understandable indignation. I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Qur’an, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion.”

  22. TNCath says:

    An excellent treatise! Let’s not also forget Fr. George Rutler’s statement as well from the Catholic World Report last December 28:

    “The World Trade Center was not destroyed by Presbyterians. Catholics are naïve if they try to ignore that the attackers were Muslim. As I said in one of my recent articles, society is in a similar place today as it was in regards to Hitler in the 1930s. People were accommodating themselves to National Socialism or Hitlerism because they thought it would bring down Marxism. The Nazis, in fact, presented themselves as the anti-Bolsheviks. But, they didn’t appreciate the disease they were unleashing on the world.

    “People who describe themselves as liberals today are often protective and defensive about Islam, despite the fact that it is so intrinsically opposed to what these progressives claim to represent. The only explanation I can come up with is that these Western socialists or progressives are hostile to Judeo-Christian civilization and see Muslims as an effective force against it. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    “This is coupled with the fact that the secular media so often downplays or ignores the atrocities committed by Islamists. Just recently, for example, four Christian children were lined up by ISIS in Iraq and told to deny Christ and convert to Islam. When they refused, they were decapitated. I don’t recall seeing that in the New York Times.”

  23. Indulgentiam says:

    Gregg’s views are very edifying thank you Father.
    @marcelus- “The Pope’s dreaded visit was concluded with a wonderful surprise,’ wrote daily Aksam on its front page. In Sultan Ahmet Mosque, he turned toward Mecca and prayed like Muslims,…”
    Let’s not perpetuate misinformation by quoting government owned newspapers- Aksam. Also Reuters has printed statements out of context before and it appears that here there at it again.

    (then)Pope Benedict XVI writes–
    “In the area of interreligious dialogue, divine Providence granted me, almost at the end of my Journey, an unscheduled Visit which proved rather important: my Visit to Istanbul’s famous Blue Mosque. Pausing for a few minutes of recollection in that place of prayer, I addressed the one Lord of Heaven and earth, the Merciful Father of all humanity. May all believers recognize that they are his creatures…”
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20061206_en.html

    Like Chesterton said: “Modern man is staggering and losing his balance because he is being pelted with little pieces of alleged fact which are native to the newspapers; and, if they turn out not to be facts, that is still more native to newspapers.” Chesterton ILN, 4/7/23

    We already know that, sadly, even Popes are not immune from foot in mouth disease. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.

    “There is in Islam a paradox which is perhaps a permanent menace. The great creed born in the desert creates a kind of ecstasy out of the very emptiness of its own land, and even, one may say, out of the emptiness of its own theology. It affirms, with no little sublimity, something that is not merely the singleness but rather the solitude of God. There is the same extreme simplification in the solitary figure of the Prophet; and yet this isolation perpetually reacts into its own opposite. A void is made in the heart of Islam which has to be filled up again and again by a mere repetition of the revolution that founded it. There are no sacraments; the only thing that can happen is a sort of apocalypse, as unique as the end of the world; so the apocalypse can only be repeated and the world end again and again. There are no priests; and yet this equality can only breed a multitude of lawless prophets almost as numerous as priests. The very dogma that there is only one Mahomet produces an endless procession of Mahomets. Of these the mightiest in modern times were the man whose name was Ahmed, and whose more famous title was the Mahdi; and his more ferocious successor Abdullahi, who was generally known as the Khalifa. These great fanatics, or great creators of fanaticism, succeeded in making a militarism almost as famous and formidable as that of the Turkish Empire on whose frontiers it hovered, and in spreading a reign of terror such as can seldom be organised except by civilisation…” – Lord Kitchener by GK Chesterton ifying.

  24. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    The obvious finally occurred to me, and searching for Samuel Gregg’s quotation, I soon found:

    http://www.vatican.va/special/annus_fidei/documents/annus-fidei_bxvi_inedito-50-concilio_en.html

    If “Benedict narrowed in on what he called pathologies of religion” there (without the word “pathologies” appearing in the translation linked), he did so only at a very high level of generalization (however interesting that is in its own right).

  25. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Indulgentiam,

    Thank you for the link!

    What “misinformation”, exactly, is being ‘perpetuated’ in this instance? An interpretation of his physical disposition and behaviour? What do we know about the visible and perhaps audible aspects of his “Pausing for a few minutes of recollection in that place of prayer” and ‘addressing’?

  26. Indulgentiam says:

    Venerator Sti Lot & marcelus
    My sincere apologies. I was reading several encyclicals at once and copied and pasted the wrong one. The quote I posted from PBXVI is obviously one marcelus already had. I had a reference to the Rueters/Aksam article. I’ll have to back track and look. Frankly looking at my post I don’t know what the hey I was thinkin. I’m sorry for not being more careful before I hit post.

  27. Priam1184 says:

    I have a suspicion that many Muslims who live in the Middle East and see all of the carnage (mostly in the Middle East itself) wreaked in the name of the religion that they hold dear may be beginning to have a feeling in the deep pit of their stomach that something is wrong here.

    Witness the recent remarks of Egypt’s president about Muslims needing to take a look at beliefs that they have held for centuries because those beliefs are making them into a source of aggression toward the rest of the world. The problem is that those beliefs are actually central to Islam and they constitute the reason why Islam practiced as it was originally intended ALWAYS HAS BEEN a source of aggression to its neighbors.

    If only we had a hierarchy capable of recognizing this historical moment where maybe the seeds of conversion can be planted and a resurrection of the Catholic Church from the dead in the Middle East might, just might, be possible.