I was going to offer a rather lengthy commentary on the recent blow up surrounding the Pope’s rather academic comments, but I decided to shorten it somewhat and simply let David Warren do the talking for me in this bulls eye article, a selection of which I provide here:
Here is the point Pope Benedict was making, also in the words of that learned Byzantine emperor, speaking on the eve of one of the many sieges of Constantinople:
“God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats. … To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death.”
It is a point the Greek-educated and Christian emperor takes as self-evident, but which is not self-evident to a theology that holds God entirely beyond human reason, and says He may command whatever He commands, including conversion by force should He so will. As the Pope said, it is a conflict that stabs us once again today: Does God act with “logos”? (This is the Greek word for “reason” as well as “word”) How do we defend this very Catholic (and Orthodox) idea outside the Church, where our own theological assumptions are not shared?
This was not a crude anti-Islamic polemic; nor was it so at the end of the 14th century. It was a quest for peace and amity, then as now.
By turning the story back-to-front, so that what’s promised in the lead — a crude attack on Islam — is quietly withdrawn much later in the text, the BBC journalists were having a little mischief. The kind of mischief that is likely to end with Catholic priests and faithful butchered around the Muslim world. Either the writers were so jaw-droppingly ignorant, they did not realize this is what they were abetting (always a possibility with the postmodern journalist), or the malice was intended. There is no third possibility.
So with the typical reaction of Muslim extremism, 2 eternal truths have been revealed:
1) The Muslim world, judging by the rather whole scale denunciation of the Pope’s rather tame comments, is not prepared to dialogue with Christianity, much less the West, in anything that can resemble a civil dialogue. The only way of life they seem to understand is to conquer or be conquered. You just have to wonder whether the idiots at the BBC or The New York Times have figured out that, in their quest to destroy Catholicism, Christianity, and anything resembling decency in the West, the Jihadiis are not going to cut them any slack if and when they take over their operations. Then again, these particular puff pieces are simply fronts for Al Jazeera any way.
2) John Paul II was a politician his whole life. He knew how to sidestep these sorts of things in dealing with the Communists all those years. Poor Benedict was a professor. He was used to academics. And since this was primarily an academic exercise on his part, he simply tried to explain in a civil and Christian manner the Catholic position by referencing an historical text, and, I might add, distancing himself from the Emperors rather blunt (and correct) assessment.
But even that politically correct gesture did not fly with Muslim leaders. It appears they have a problem with their violent past and letting go of it in the 21st century.
Now before the MSM froth at the mouth at promoting Benedict’s comments as an “obvious outrage”, you would think they think twice about undermining the god of free speech they have been worshipping all these years. Then again, I never believed they were interested in Free Speech. The Mohammed cartoons proved that. Modern journalists, by and large, are just good ol’ fashioned champagne liberal hypocrites. They’re all for free speech as long as they’re the ones writing the speeches.
The BBC and the rest of the MSM are culpable for any Catholics or Christians hurt, as a result of any misrepresentation they promote in Benedict’s speech. They should go to jail.