RELIGION: The Pope and the Jihadis

Ace nails this one.
Everyone who complains about the Pope’s quotation should first be asked: is it, or is it not true, that Islam commands that the faith be spread by the sword? Anyone who doesn’t explicitly and unequivocally renounce that doctine should not be listened to.
A couple more random thoughts:
*Frankly, if it is controversial for the Pope to speak negatively about another faith, we’re in trouble. As a matter of earthly politics, we expect our religious leaders to espouse tolerance; as a political strategy, it is sometimes prudent for people of many faiths to form alliances within free societies against secularists. But as a matter of propagating the faith – the first duty of the clergy – of course, the Pope is entitled to explain why another faith is false prophecy and leads to ill.
*If these guys take a shot at the Pope, they will have enemies they have not previously dreamt of.

11 thoughts on “RELIGION: The Pope and the Jihadis”

  1. Cardinal Ratzinger could set the Catholic Church back 50 to 500 years. Some may see that as a blessing -not me.
    Barely a generation ago, Catholics in this country were forbidden from ever setting foot inside a non-Catholic Church. My aunt wasn’t able to attend her best friend’s wedding because of that nonsense.
    John Paul II may have turned back the clock on some things – social issues, the role of the laity, liberation theology – but he embraced people of all faiths – Jews, Protestants, Muslims.
    Sadly, Ratzinger seems to agree on the former beliefs but not the latter. The last thing this world needs is another divisive religious leader.

  2. The Pope is in a no win situation. Just like those cartoons. The Danes publish some, and there is outrage around the world, riots, you name it. The Iranians publish those holocaust cartoons to see just how much we beleive in free speech. Of course, they don’t mention that we (and that includes little Jewish me) sort of go ho hum, and uh, don’t riot.
    If the Pope said nothing, then he would be lambasted for not condemning international terrorism, which, despite various local components, is largely an Islamic phenomenom. Well, he did say something, and he is condemned. As for those who slam him, well, how about condemning terrorism yourself. And maybe even DOING something about it.

  3. I thought the obsevation by a prominent Turkish politician that “saying Islam is intolerant could provoke violence” was somewhat amusing.

  4. Patrick, did you read the Pope’s speech? Or are your comments based on the pathetic response we’ve seen around the globe?

  5. I read his comments as anti-violence, not anti-Islam. But if the response to words is bombs, perhaps the Pope should revisit his position.

  6. Abe – with your prodding, I just read the whole speech. (see
    Thanks. It was worthwhile. The speech was in someways better than I expected. But still divisive and not what the world needs right now.
    The Pope outlined how important it is to intertwine faith and reason, and without either, the other is disasterous. On that point, I am in full agreement.
    However, in making this point, he clearly implies that the Muslim faith represents what happens when faith abandons reason.
    I think it would be quite simple to find examples of Christians generally and Catholics in particular, abandoning reason in the name of faith.
    Likewise, I am sure within the Muslim faith, many scholars have attempted to intertwine the two with at least as much success as Cardinal Ratzinger.

  7. But instead of notineg that no religion is without zealots and blasphmers and establishing a common ground, the Pope reinforces the Us against Them mentality that already pervades our precarious planet.

  8. Patrick, us against them is what religion is all about: I’m right and you’re wrong. The rest are footnotes.

  9. The thing that bugs me about certain religions is the need to convert. Which derives from a certainty of divine intent. And a kind of pathetic hubris on the part of the believer.
    It is a problem of absolutists on all sides: can anyone genuinely argue that Dobson et alia is committed to a pluralistic society? And isn’t pluralism crucial to the foundation of western culture?
    I personally think that the administration isn’t committed to pluralism either, but that isn’t exactly relevant here. Religious leaders can reinforce opinion. In this case, the Pope has not clearly rejected a black and white formulation of Christianity and Islam and has muddled the message he had tried to convey with his comments on war a week or two ago. It is too bad.

  10. If we don’t start doing a better job of adopting us vs. them, the 25% of them is going to run over the 75% of us. That does not only include our dealing with Muslims, but with the situation involving our national borders.

  11. “If these guys take a shot at the Pope, they will have enemies they have not previously dreamt of.”
    We’ll see. The Church has gone soft by being hard on the U.S. Maybe these latest protests and death threats (that have already been acted upon) will awake the Church to the dangers of Islamofascism. I’d really like to see (whether it be overt or covert) some cooperation between the Pope and the U.S. and Britain, as we saw with Pope John Paul II and Reagan during the Cold War. Sides must be taken.

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