+Benedict’s Regensburg Vindication

Pope Benedict’s statement about Islam in Regensburg in 2006 was no gaffe, as the media like to portray it. He was stating some deep truths that proved too politically incorrect for many journalists to grasp without their heads exploding.

As George Weigel explains below, the rise of ISIS, the continued radicalization of some Muslims and the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries  spectacularly confirm the two points that Pope Benedict made in that speech.

Eight years later, the Regensburg Lecture looks a lot different. Indeed, those who actually read it in 2006 understood that, far from making a “gaffe,” Benedict XVI was exploring with scholarly precision two key questions, the answers to which would profoundly influence the civil war raging within Islam—a war whose outcome will determine whether 21st-century Islam is safe for its own adherents and safe for the world.

The first question was about religious freedom: Could Muslims find, within their own spiritual and intellectual resources, Islamic arguments for religious tolerance (including tolerance of those who convert to other faiths)? That desirable development, the pope suggested, might lead over time (meaning centuries) to a more complete Islamic theory of religious freedom.

The second question was about the structuring of Islamic societies: Could Muslims find, again from within their own spiritual and intellectual resources, Islamic arguments for distinguishing between religious and political authority in a just state? That equally desirable development might make Muslim societies more humane in themselves and less dangerous to their neighbors, especially if it were linked to an emerging Islamic case for religious tolerance.

Pope Benedict went on to suggest that inter-religious dialogue between Catholics and Muslims might focus on these two linked questions. The Catholic Church, the pope freely conceded, had had its own struggles developing a Catholic case for religious freedom in a constitutionally-governed polity in which the Church played a key role in civil society, but not directly in governance. But Catholicism had finally done so: not by surrendering to secular political philosophy, but by using what it had learned from political modernity in order to reach back into its own tradition, rediscover elements of its thinking about faith, religion, and society that had gotten lost over time, and develop its teaching about the just society for the future.

Was such a process of retrieval-and-development possible in Islam? That was the Big Question posed by Benedict XVI in the Regensburg Lecture. It is a tragedy of historic proportions that the question was, first, misunderstood, and then ignored. The results of that misunderstanding and that ignorance—and a lot of other misunderstanding and ignorance—are now on grisly display throughout the Middle East: in the decimation of ancient Christian communities; in barbarities that have shocked a seemingly-unshockable West, like the crucifixion and beheading of Christians; in tottering states; in the shattered hopes that the 21st- century Middle East might recover from its various cultural and political illnesses and find a path to a more humane future.


As for the conversation about Islam’s future that Benedict XVI proposed, well, it now seems rather unlikely. But if it’s to take place, Christian leaders must prepare the way by naming, forthrightly, the pathologies of Islamism and jihadism; by ending their ahistorical apologies for 20th-century colonialism (lamely imitating the worst of western academic blather about the Arab Islamic world); and by stating publicly that, when confronted by bloody-minded fanatics like those responsible for the reign of terror that has beset Syria and Iraq this summer, armed force, deployed prudently and purposefully by those with the will and the means to defend innocents, is morally justified. (Source)

3 thoughts on “+Benedict’s Regensburg Vindication

  1. People should read the Koran. There id direct passages from the Koran and that book is considered the holy book for Muslims everywhere about beheading and committing slaughter on all of those who will not become infidels. That is part of what they teach, in their holy book. They also teach it is good and profitable to lie, and hold no bones about this. So… the next time someone tries to tell you that only radical extremists commit these atrocities , remind them that the Koran itself has many passages calling for them to behead and commit all the other hideous crimes, such as rape and slaughter of innocent people.

    Pope Benedict was vilified for only speaking the Truth about what the Koran states, nothing more nothing less by many in the West. Shame on those people, who hate Truth. They are now seeing the consequences of such actions and for not standing up for what is True.
    Those people who hate Truth do not think we are sweet and compassionate for our beliefs in peace, and wanting to try to live in some sort of peaceful way, they laugh at us. Even back then, I remember watching local Imans on television after 911, giving their justified reason for killing, To them it is not considered wrong if you do not become one of them, in their religion, in other words , if you do not or will not join with them in Islam you,are considered an infidel…T

    This is the whole agenda of Muslim teaching. Wake up people. Many people chose, and still choose to remain impervious to what has been happening, for whatever reason , and lie to themselves that they were being “kind” and “welcoming” and all such politically correct terms when people, specifically Christian people in the West were being marginalized as usual,so goes the twisting of the evil one again, to those too blind to see it , or to chose.. sad to say.. who cared less to
    acknowledge reality as it now is.

  2. Don’t ever forget how The Worldview/Religion of so-called “Neutral” Western Democratic Secular Paganism, is politically allowed to indoctrinate innocent,impressionable Canadian and Western Schoolchildren in Western Education Establishments from Kindergarten,as so-called “neutral”Secular Pagan Human Rights! Don’t you ever forget who is POLITICALLY responsible for this in our former Christian Democracies,that were Christian of sorts in our Government Establishments,Legal Establishments and Education Establishments!My contemporaries started every school morning with The Lord’s Prayer led by their school teachers,because our Grandparents, Parents and righteous citizens POLITICALLY kept it that way. My family members did not fight in The Second World War For The Attributes of so-called”neutral” Secular Paganism,or The Attributes of Allah!In Democracies a righteous society can collectively change evil laws. Political Apathy,Indifference and Complacency allows evil to prosper! First take the log out of your own eye,then you can see clearly,and you will be able to take the speck out of your brothers eye!

  3. According to Vatican Council II (Ad Gentes 7) Islam and the other religions are not paths to salvation. Their members need ‘faith and baptism’. Also LG 16,LG 8,UR 3,NA 2 are not exceptions to Ad Gentes 7, since we do not know any case in 2014, who can be saved as such and without the baptism of water. They are possibilities, hypothtical cases but no known exceptions.Since they are only known to God they cannot be exceptions for us. We do not know any such case over the last 100 years .
    So Vatican Council II is in agreement with extra ecclesiam nulla salus with respect to the defined dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.
    The Letter of the Holy Office 1949 during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII made an objective mistake when it inferred that the baptism of desire and being saved in invincible ignorance are known to us in the present times to be explicit exceptions to the traditional intepretation of the dogma.It is a fact of life that we cannot see anyone saved in Heaven, with or without, the baptism of water.So these cases cannot be exceptions on earth, to all needing faith and baptism to go to Heaven and avoid Hell.
    This is a common misunderstanding among Catholics.

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