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Pope Benedict's citation

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict Criticizes Islam [in Regensburg]

Submitted by Richard C. Kress (United States), Sep 23, 2006 at 13:18

It could feel as if the Pope were recoiling a bit in the manner of ex-Harvard University president, Lawrence Summers by writing an "apology" for his citation. Summers did just this in response to "feminist" fury at his simply raising a point of inquiry: why are there fewer women than men achieving success or accomplishment in the sciences. Simply put,this was a question and not a barely concealed contention of female mediocrity. But, academe would countenance none of it and within seconds, it seemed, Summers was gone. In the Pope's case, if the actual translation of his response to Muslim "outrage" was, from the Italian, "I am disappointed" or "I regret", that is not an apology, and whether it is or isn't is hardly the point.

The citation, if spoken by a 15th century Byzantine emperor or by me, speaks directly and, I believe, unflinchingly to our current situation. Perhaps, the Pope will elaborate on why he chose that quotation and perhaps, he will speak to how, indeed, he does feel. He may be right or wrong just as we all may be. All, that is, save the Islamists who apparently were created without fault-without fault in being or sensibility. The Muslim "world" responded to this perceived "criticism" as it has for centuries-with destruction of whatever it could find which was, to it, detestable. And just to triumphantly refute that assessment by that emperor (but not that Pope) they immediately demonstrated their "profoundly irenic" sensibilities with weaponry, arson, threats, physical abuse and further elaboration on the now constant refrain to "kill the infidel". After the murders of September 11, 2001, the NY Times best seller list was saturated with books on understanding Islam.

The only interest I could muster(from that point to the present) was to see a clearly stated critical exegesis of the Koranic text showing the warrant for and defense of the odious actions of 19 Muslims carried out on that horrific day. Any declamations on the part of Islamic adherents anywhere as to the true and the beautiful aspects of their faith would have to be, in my view, "filtered" through the prism of that exegesis. I hold fast to that view. I believe the West(and I would defend that generality) is at war and we have stood by and allowed the butchers to persevere. They have used our technology, our media and, ironically, our innate disposition to kindness and understanding against us. In America, we obviously have, among other things, slavery and the displacement of those who were here first to answer for. . . but the interesting part is that in this blessed Republic under this singular and blessed Constitution, WE DO ANSWER FOR THEM and WE CONTINUE TO. The choice is not whether or not to stand and fight; the choice is to fight or be decimated while trying so desperately to understand. . .

Richard C. Kress

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