Vatican statement about unscheduled Remarks by Sheikh Tayssir Attamimi

Vatican Press Office Statement regarding unscheduled Remarks by Sheikh Tayssir Attamimi during the Inter-religious Meeting at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Centre

Statement of Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Director of the Press Office of the Holy See:

"The intervention of Sheikh Tayssir Attamimi was not scheduled by the organizers of the meeting. In a meeting dedicated to dialogue this intervention was a direct negation of what a dialogue should be. We hope that such an incident will not damage the mission of the Pope aiming at promoting peace and also interreligious dialogue, as he has clearly affirmed in many occasions during this pilgrimage. We hope also that interreligious dialogue in the Holy Land will not be compromised by this incident." END

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  1. shadrach says:

    Good to see that the Vatican PR jalopy is at getting its act together and getting its message out fast.

  2. BillyHW says:

    If I hear the word dialogue one more time…well I just don’t know what.

  3. pat says:

    Can’t say it was good thinking shaking the sheikh’s hand on his way out.

  4. Son of Trypho says:

    I suspect that they had pre-prepared remarks for this sort of incident. Sort of like a template with “insert name”, “insert location” here type of thing. :)

  5. James says:

    At least His Holiness didn’t bow when he shook the sheikh’s hand.

  6. EDG says:

    Pat, what I read originally is that the sheik came over and shook Benedict’s hand. So I guess the Pope was caught between a rock and a hard place and was bound to offend someone one way or another.

    Also, if these words were not part of the program, then the translators wouldn’t have had a look at them initially and might have been less than clear and fluent in their translation. Normally the interpreters are given a copy of a prepared address and allowed to look through it in order to speed up their translating when the address is given. The Pope was probably pretty stunned by what must have seemed like a bolt from the blue.

    Regardless, somebody probably within that ecumenical center must have approved this and known about it, or the sheik wouldn’t even have gotten past security let alone up on the stage. The question is who knew about it and why they permitted this and why the Pope was not told in advance.

  7. Hidden One says:

    Regardless, it was done, and the Vatican responded well. Well enough? We’ll find out.

  8. Michelle Marie Romani says:

    I saw the replay from EWTN just now. The fact that no one was providing some sort of translation is an indication that this was not planned. Furthermore, this is the same cleric who rained on Pope John Paul’s parade nine years ago. Why oh why did they even bring this man back?

    The Holy Father showed grace and dignity by what he did. I probably would have gone over there and yanked the mike from the podium.

  9. Emilio III says:

    As far as I know His Holiness does not understand Arabic, in which case he would not know what Attamimi had said. So how can he be blamed for his reaction? I would like to know who allowed that guy in, though, and send him to one of the Antartic bases.

  10. Michelle Marie Romani says:

    The Holy Father may not know Arabic, but, I think that the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem did. I don’t know if any of you caught the exchange between the Holy Father and Cardinal Bertone, but, I think that Cardinal Bertone caught on that something was amiss. Raymond Arroyo even said that they were trying to cut the judge’s mike off.

    The priest and deacon with Raymond implied from the get-go that this address was not pleasant.

    I sent Anderson Cooper a tweet telling him that I support the Holy Father.

  11. Geoffrey says:

    I watched the replay on EWTN after first reading about this in the Jerusalem Post. Sheikh Tayssir
    Attamimi was not scheduled to speak, probably because of last time, but he was in attendance. You
    could see him walk up as soon as possible and begin speaking.

    Even the people who did not speak Arabic were visibly uncomfortable. You could tell his speech was militant just by the tone. Some tried to leave, but couldn’t because of security.

    The greatest moment during this speech was when the Holy Father and Cardinal Bertone were talking and chuckling a bit, obviously showing that they were not in support of this.

    I hope people don’t criticize the Holy Father for shaking the Sheikh’s hand. I don’t think Christ ever “snubbed” anyone, so why should His Vicar? Of course, note that the Holy Father left immediately, before the official conclusion of the event.

    Viva il Papa!

  12. EDG says:

    I didn’t realize until I read these posts that the talk wasn’t even being translated for the Pope. This detail is somehow left out of the press accounts. How was he supposed to know what was being said?

    I also didn’t realize that this was the same person who was a problem during JPII’s visit. Somebody slipped up badly by even letting him in the room.

  13. David Kastel says:

    What did this sheikh say?

  14. dymphna says:

    I watched on EWTN and seeing the expressions of the faces of the people in the audience was fascinating. One man was caught on camera trying to leave others were standing in the aisle. Whoever let the sheikh in made a huge blunder.

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