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Thread: Papal Gauntlet thrown?

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    Papal Gauntlet thrown?

    This past Monday it was Sept. 11 in Bavaria too, but you never would have known it if you'd been following Pope Benedict XVI's homecoming visit to his native region. The German pontiff stuck to his itinerary and prepared texts, staying mum on Islamic terrorism even as the fifth anniversary of 9/11 dominated headlines and discussions around the world. Aides said Benedict prayed privately for the victims of the attacks, noting that it is rare for popes to speak out on foreign trips about news events not related to the country being visited. But some reporters grumbled unfavorable comparisons with the shy German pontiff´s news-generating, geopolitically attuned predecessor.

    But the Vatican press corps is slowly learning that it's best to cover Benedict on his own terms. For the 79-year-old would not stay silent for long on the topic of faith-based terror. On Tuesday, in a riveting and provocative university lecture, the Pope explored the philosophical and historical differences between Islam and Christianity—a speech that would become the surprise centerpiece of a five-day visit that many had expected would be mostly just a walk down memory lane. There is little doubt left that Benedict is indeed highly attuned to the risks of fundamentalist terrorism. In fact, it is testament to where this problem stands on his list of priorities that he used the occasion of his triumphant return to Regensburg University, where he taught theology in the 1970s, to deliver a lecture that explored how Christians and Muslims may have historically viewed the relationship between violence and faith, based on the two religions' conceptions of the divinity.

    His discourse Tuesday sought to delineate what he sees as a fundamental difference between Christianity's view that God is intrinsically linked to reason (the Greek concept of logos) and Islam´s view that "God is absolutely transcendent." Benedict said that Islam teaches that God's "will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." The risk he sees implicit in this concept of the divine is that the irrationality of violence can potentially be justified if someone believes it is God's will. "As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?"

    This is indeed Benedict doing it on his own terms. Rather than tackling the challenge of fundamentalist terrorism with a pithy remark packaged for the 9/11 anniversary or reaching for a John Paul-inspired sweeping gesture, the professor Pope went digging into his books. He went so far as to quote a 14th century Byzantine emperor´s hostile view of Islam's founder. "The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the Pope said. "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'" Benedict added "I quote" twice to make it clear these were someone else's words. Nevertheless this reference was undoubtedly the most provocative moment of a provocative lecture. In a sense, explicitly including the Muslim prophet by name, and citing the concept of jihad, was a flashing neon signal to the world that the soft-spoken Pope intends to make himself heard clearly on this defining tension of our times.

    It is not the first time he has entered the fray. On his last trip to Germany, to Cologne for Catholic World Youth Day in August 2005, he told a group of Muslims that they have a responsibility to try to halt the violence carried out in the name of their religion. Even earlier on this trip to Bavaria, which ends Thursday, he seemed to refer to Islam's negative view of a Western society that has too little faith, and cited it as the cause for tensions.

    But Tuesday's university lecture was a watershed. After laying out the historical contrasts with Islam, the Pope used much of the discourse to call on the West, and Europe in particular, to clearly affirm the value of a faith in God —and a God built on reason. "While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them," he said. "We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons."

    And so the question is: what then is driving the pontiff to make this particular call to a renewed sense of faith based on reason? Naturally, the leader of Roman Catholicism has an inherent proselytizing purpose. But in the context of this groundbreaking speech, there is another objective.

    In the penultimate phrase of his lecture, Benedict said: "It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures." Ah yes, the "d" word. "Dialogue" has become a familiar papal term ever since John Paul launched the first of many interfaith gatherings in the medieval Italian city of Assisi two decades ago. Just last month, in fact, was the 20th anniversary of that first encounter. Benedict, as he did last year, skipped the anniversary event in St. Francis' hometown—and Vatican insiders say he has always been skeptical of the encounters, which he worries can water down differences between faiths. But he did send a written message for the first time this year, which heralded John Paul's "prophecy" in promoting a peaceful dialogue among different religions, and "its timeliness in light of what has happened in the past 20 years and of humanity's situation today."

    Thus taken together with this commitment to dialogue, the Pope's lecture in Regensburg seems to be saying: Yes, we must indeed talk, but now is the time for hard questions—not hugs and handshakes. The upside to Benedict's approach is that a brilliant theologian-Pope may help sharpen the terms of the debate. The downside is that he risks not connecting with the masses—or worse, being misinterpreted and manipulated by both his own followers, and those of other faiths. As a worldwide preacher—and no longer just an ivory-tower intellectual or Vatican bureaucrat—Benedict must still further synthesize his message. He may get no better stage than on his next scheduled foreign voyage. In late November, the leader of the world's one billion Catholics is scheduled to land in Turkey, home to 70 million Muslims.

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Of course, a Turkish Islamic leader responded with the equivalent of "Look who's talking!", but did not deny the violence of his faith.

  2. #2
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    It looks like Muslims are upset again...

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/liv...&icc=NEWS&ct=5

    from that article...

    "The Ramadhan Foundation is disappointed that the current Pope has not followed the example of his predecessor; it is essential in today's world that we link together and encourage a wider understanding of our different faiths, celebrating our religious differences is essential in a ever expanding world."

    Muhammad Umar, chairman of the foundation, said: "This attack on Islam and Prophet Muhammad by Pope Benedict is recognition that he has fallen into the trap of the bigots and racists when it comes to judging Islam on the actions of a small number of extreme elements."

    ...than how come we don't hear more from the "majority" of law abiding peace lovers to tone down the actions of their "extreme elements?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by jetswin
    ...than how come we don't hear more from the "majority" of law abiding peace lovers to tone down the actions of their "extreme elements?"
    because speaking out against your local militia is a crime punishable by binding your hands and getting shot in the head execution style

    we live in a country where free speech is guarunteed

    none of these Muslims can say anything

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    Islam row challenges Pope, raises security concerns

    By Philip Pullella

    VATICAN CITY, Sept 15 (Reuters) - The Muslim world's scathing reaction to Pope Benedict's comments on Islam is the biggest challenge to face the pontiff yet and raises concerns over his security, diplomatic and Church sources said on Friday.

    "My personal reaction was: 'This is a striking statement. Was it a rare slip-up?'" one of the sources said about the Pope's speech in Germany last Tuesday.


    "One has to wonder why the Pope, who is normally so careful about what he says or writes, and has a reputation for extreme care, did not realise the reaction that this could cause," he added.

    In his speech at the University of Regensburg, Benedict quoted criticism of Islam and the Prophet Mohammad by 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, who wrote that everything Mohammad brought was evil and inhuman, "such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached".

    Benedict repeatedly quoted Manuel's argument that spreading the faith through violence is unreasonable, adding: "Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul."

    "I was quite surprised (by the speech)," one diplomat said. "He has put himself in a tough spot and it will be interesting to see what he does next."

    While the Vatican said it was not the Pope's intention to offend the sensitivity of the Muslim faithful, the crisis was still the first major controversy to face the Pope since he was elected in April 2005.

    long article:

    http://today.reuters.com/news/articl...&from=business

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    Christianity for the most part has learned by its past mistakes, Islam has not learned. The vast majority must learn to speak out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti
    because speaking out against your local militia is a crime punishable by binding your hands and getting shot in the head execution style

    we live in a country where free speech is guarunteed

    none of these Muslims can say anything
    that guy was speaking from England, when will the American Muslims speak up?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti
    because speaking out against your local militia is a crime punishable by binding your hands and getting shot in the head execution style

    we live in a country where free speech is guarunteed

    none of these Muslims can say anything

    OK, but what about the Muslims who live in countries that are free to speak their mind? Where are they? The majority of them are silent and their silence speaks volumes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jetswin
    that guy was speaking from England, when will the American Muslims speak up?
    I think we will hear from them. I wouldnt be suprised to see protests in front of Catholic Churches soon.

    It would actually be funny if he did apologize saying he was sorry for implying that God's word should be spread peacefully.

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    http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe...lam/index.html

    Pope Benedict XVI came under a hail of criticism from the Islamic world Friday for comments he made earlier in the week regarding the Prophet Mohammed and the Muslim faith, in some cities provoking street protests.

    A growing chorus of Muslim leaders have called on the pope to apologize for the remarks he made in a speech in Germany on Tuesday when he used the terms "jihad" and "holy war."

    A Vatican statement said Benedict was not trying offend Muslims with his remarks.

    "It was certainly not the intention of the Holy Father to ... offend the sensibilities of Muslim faithful," said Federico Lombardi, the Vatican press officer.

    In response to the pope's speech, Pakistan's National Assembly -- parliament's lower house -- unanimously passed a resolution on Friday condemning his remarks. The Pakistan Foreign Office also called into question the pope's comments, calling them highly controversial, regrettable and against Islam.

    Also Friday, Muslim protesters shouted slogans against the pontiff at a rally in Jammu, India.

    And in Cairo, about 100 demonstrators gathered in an anti-Vatican protest outside the capital's al-Azhar mosque.

    Meanwhile, a youth center run by the Greek Orthodox church in the Gaza Strip was slightly damaged by a small explosion on Friday, witnesses told Reuters.

    It was unclear if the blast was connected to the pope's comments.

    During his address at the University of Regensburg on Tuesday, Benedict quoted 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus.

    "God," the emperor, as the pope quoted, said, "is not pleased by blood -- and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature." (Full story)

    A transcript of the pope's remarks obtained by The Associated Press television network reads: "In the seventh (sura, or chapter of the Quran), the emperor comes to speak about jihad, holy war.

    "The emperor certainly knew that Sura 2, 256, reads: 'No force in matters of faith'. It is one of the early suras, from a time -- as experts say -- in which Mohammed himself was still powerless and threatened.

    "However, the emperor of course also knew the requirements about the holy war that were later formulated in the Quran. Without going into details like the handling of the owners of the scriptures, or non-believers, he (the emperor) turned to his interlocutors -- in a surprisingly brusque way -- with the central question after the relationship between religion and violence.

    "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"

    The Organization of the Islamic Conference, in a statement released Thursday, said it "regrets the quotations cited by the pope on the Life of the Honorable Prophet Mohammed, and what he referred to as 'spreading' Islam 'by the sword.'"

    "The attribution of the spread of Islam around the world to the shedding of blood and violence, which is 'incompatible with the nature of God' is a complete distortion of the facts, which shows deep ignorance of Islam and Islamic history."

    Muslim Brotherhood Chairman Mohammed Mahdi Akef also expressed anger over the pope's academic speech.

    "The pope's statements come to add fuel to fire and trigger anger within the Muslim world and show that the West with its politicians and clerics are hostile to Islam."

    Condemnation also came from Turkey where Benedict is scheduled to visit in November.

    "His words are extremely regrettable, worrying and unfortunate in terms of the Christian world and common peace of humanity," the Anatolian state news agency quoted Ali Bardakoglu, the head of Ankara's Directorate General for Religious Affairs, as saying.

    "I do not see any use in somebody visiting the Islamic world who thinks in this way about the holy prophet of Islam."

    In Syria, the grand mufti, the country's top Sunni Muslim religious authority, sent a letter to the pope saying he feared the pontiff's comments on Islam would worsen interfaith relations, AP reported.

    In Gaza City, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya issued a condemnation, saying Benedict's remarks "are not true and defamed the essence of this holy religion and it defamed the history of the Islam."

    "We say to the pope to re-examine these comments and to stop defaming the Islam religion that more than 1 and half billion Muslims believe in," said Haniya, who made the remarks after Friday prayers.

    In Lebanon, the country's most senior Shiite Muslim cleric demanded the pope personally apologize for insulting Islam.

    "We do not accept the apology through Vatican channels ... and ask him (Benedict) to offer a personal apology -- not through his officials -- to Muslims for this false reading (of Islam)," Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah told worshippers.

    But the Vatican statement said Benedict's discussion on Tuesday was quite to the contrary.

    "The Holy Father's desire (is) to cultivate an attitude of respect and dialogue towards other religions and cultures, including, of course, Islam."

    According to Lombardi, Benedict's speech was "a warning, addressed to Western culture, to avoid 'the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom.'"

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    Quote Originally Posted by sect112row36
    I think we will hear from them. I wouldnt be suprised to see protests in front of Catholic Churches soon.

    It would actually be funny if he did apologize saying he was sorry for implying that God's word should be spread peacefully.


    bottom line, it's just another excuse to continue the madness, and somehow try and justify...the terrorist continues to win the propaganda war

  11. #11
    What a joke. These people claim to be so outraged by the Pope's statement when everyday their religion is being subverted and not a word out of them. It's becoming clearer everyday that the reason for people not speaking up against the violence is not fear but they are in agreement with these violent actions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MnJetFan
    Christianity for the most part has learned by its past mistakes...

    But they still do love to touch the little boy's peepee.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PlumberKhan
    But they still do love to touch the little boy's peepee.

    The difference is that most Christians are outraged over these actions and discontinue to follow these criminals. I dont see any Catholics protesting to save their wayward priests.

    That being said--you wont have to look far to see problems in any religion. That doesnt change the fact that the Pope is a leader who obviously is looking to put terrorism on the table for discussion. The popes speech left an opening for any Islamic leader to agree and join him in rallying Muslims to embrace the peaceful spread of their religion.

    I guess we're still waiting for that first leader to show up. In the meantime, countdown to violence-10, 9, 8.......

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    I find it amazing that they're disputing (with straight faces?) "spread by the sword".

    And PLumber - don't act like a jerkoff, mmkay?

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    ok now they are comparing the Pope to Hitler...

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14846353/

    ...this is beyond ridiculous, and I am really beginning to think that there can be no reasoning with these people, the only thing they understand is violence and the end of the world as we know it is upon us

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    Here is a very interesting article...

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/nation...and_Islam.html

    Experts: Pope seeks role in Islam debate

    By BRIAN MURPHY
    AP RELIGION WRITER


    Pope Benedict XVI speaks to priests inside Freising Cathedral, where he was ordained, near Munich, Germany, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2006. The pontiff closed a six-day trip to his native Germany that he made sure was more than just nostalgia by warning his compatriots against reason that denies God and raising the touchy topic of Islam and violence. In his last event, at Freising cathedral outside Munich, Benedict uncharacteristically tossed aside a prepared text - instead speaking of his own frailty at age 79 and appealing to the audience of priests and bishops for help. (AP Photo/Maurizio Brambatti, Pool)
    Pope Benedict XVI's comments on religious radicalism are another sign of his intention to bring his voice into one of the world's most critical showdowns: Islam's internal struggles between moderates and extremists.

    The remarks - tucked into an address at a German university where he formerly taught theology - were interpreted by many experts in interfaith relations as a signal that the Vatican is staking a new and more demanding stance for its dealings with the Muslim world.

    Benedict, they say, appears to increasingly view the West's confrontation with radical Islam as a fateful moment in history that demands the Vatican's moral authority - just as his predecessor, John Paul II, reshaped the dimensions of the papacy by openly taking sides in the Cold War.

    The risk for the Vatican is whether it will be perceived in the Muslim world as part of a broader Western cultural and political campaign against Islam.

    "We have seen a hard line from this pope," said Ali El-Samman, president of the interfaith committee for Egypt's High Islamic Council. "It's a disappointment for many Muslims. But just because we are disappointed in a pope doesn't mean we are against all Christians."

    The Vatican said Benedict did not intend the remarks to be offensive and sought to draw attention to the incompatibility of faith and violence.

    The pope quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th-century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam.

    "The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said. "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"



    Benedict, who is supposed to visit Turkey this fall in his first trip to a Muslim nation, did not explicitly agree with the words nor did he repudiate them.

    In the backlash, some of the more subtle - yet potentially far-reaching - references have been overshadowed.

    The speech suggested deep dismay over the current conditions of Christians in the Middle East and the rest of the Muslim world, said John Voll, director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in Washington.

    "This reflects the intention of Pope Benedict to distinguish himself from his predecessor on his approach to interfaith dialogue," said Voll. "And by this, it means more reciprocity."

    Voll said the pope may increasingly instruct Vatican envoys to stress issues of forced conversions of Christians and limits on Christian rights and worship.

    "It's the next step after John Paul began opening doors" with historic pilgrimages to Muslim nations, including a visit to a Syrian mosque in 2001, Voll said.

    As John Paul's chief watchdog on Roman Catholic doctrine, Benedict - then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - had little role in shaping the Vatican's contact with Islam and other faiths.

    Some experts say Benedit's theological scholarship gives him an affinity for Orthodox churches and Judaism because of many shared traditions and holy texts, but leaves him less equipped to deal with Islam at a time when suspicions dominate relations between the West and Muslim world.

    The speech, some say, shows the pontiff intends to carry on with his strong defense of the values of the Christian West rather than compromise for the sake of building bonds with Islam.
    "They went to the speech expecting to meet Pope Benedict, but instead they met Professor Ratzinger," said the Rev. Khalil Samir, a Vatican envoy for interfaith links in Lebanon.

    In July 2005, about two months after assuming the papacy, Benedict was asked if he considered Islam a religion of peace. He said: "Certainly there are elements that favor peace. It also has other elements."

    The Rev. Robert Taft, a specialist in Islamic affairs at Rome's Pontifical Oriental Institute, said it was unlikely the pope miscalculated how some Muslims would receive his speech.

    "The message he is sending is very, very clear," Taft said. "Violence in the name of faith is never acceptable in any religion and that (the pope) considers it his duty to challenge Islam and anyone else on this."

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    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti
    because speaking out against your local militia is a crime punishable by binding your hands and getting shot in the head execution style

    we live in a country where free speech is guarunteed

    none of these Muslims can say anything
    They have a local militia here in the US?

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    "LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!!!!!!!!" Crusades II

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    This article appeared after the Danish caricature fiasco. I wonder if this act of appeasing the Islamists will help the Pope with this latest scandal.

    Um...I doubt it.


    VATICAN CITY, Feb. 16, 2006
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (AP) Pope Benedict XVI expressed support Thursday for peaceful demonstrations in the Muslim world over the Prophet Muhammad caricatures published in Europe, the Lebanese prime minister said after a private meeting at the Vatican.

    Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who is Muslim, said he and the pope discussed the drawings as well as Lebanon's intention to bring to justice those who instigated violent protests.

    "He expressed that freedom in no way should really trespass on the freedom of others," Siniora told reporters after the 20-minute private meeting in the pope's library.

    Siniora said he told the pope that Muslims should have the right to express their anger about the caricatures peacefully.

    "And the pope was very supportive of the peaceful expression of opinion in the Arab world, the Muslim world, because he condemns himself, as well, the efforts that are being made by others to trespass on the freedom and the convictions of other people," Siniora said.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by quantum
    I find it amazing that they're disputing (with straight faces?) "spread by the sword".

    And PLumber - don't act like a jerkoff, mmkay?
    it comes naturally to him....

    it's not like muslim violence has ever effected the Papacy before, right??

    Nice to see the American media adding fuel to the fire:


    Pope Offends Muslims Worldwide

    Updated 7:35 PM ET September 15, 2006

    Pope Benedict delivered a speech at Regensburg University earlier this week, where he once taught theology. His speech focused mainly on Christianity and what he called the tendency to "exclude the question of God" from reason. Islam was a small part of his speech, but its mention created an enormous controversy. The pope quoted from a book that recounted the words of a 14th century Byzantine Emperor, Manuel II Palaeologus. The book quoted a conversation between the emperor and an "educated Persian."

    The topic was Christianity and Islam. There was relatively little reaction right away. But by Thursday it seemed the whole Muslim world had been stirred. On Thursday evening the Vatican found itself scrambling to issue a statement as it tried to defuse the situation: "It certainly wasn't the intention of the pope to carry out a deep examination of jihad and Muslim thought on it, much less to offend the sensibility of Muslim believers," said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, speaking for the Vatican. He insisted that the pope respects Islam. But now many in the Muslim world have called for the pope to withdraw the remarks and issue an apology. The Muslim Brotherhood has called on Islamic countries to break relations with the Vatican if the pope does not make an apology.

    According to The Associated Press, the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, the world's largest Muslim body, said quotations used by the pope represented a "character assassination of the Prophet Mohammed" and a "smear campaign." Similarly, the Pakistani government passed a resolution condemning the pope's words, saying, according to the AP, "This house demands the pope retract his remarks in the interest of harmony among different religions." Particularly worrying for the Vatican and the pope is the reaction in predominately Muslim Turkey. The pope is scheduled to visit Turkey at the end of November. A top cleric in Turkey, Ali Bardakoglu, told NTV that the pope's remarks were "saddening and unfortunate." Bardakoglu said it would be even worse "if the pope was reflecting the spite, hatred and enmity" that Bardakoglu believes some in the Christian world direct toward Islam.

    The danger of this spinning out of control is apparent, and real. And concerns have been raised that the pope might have to delay or even cancel the Turkey trip, a trip in part about reconciliation, ironically, between the Catholic Church and Orthodox Christians in Turkey. The pope said, "The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war." Continuing, the pope said, "I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

    The pope characterized the emperor's words as "surprisingly brusque." He also recounted how the emperor explained that spreading faith through violence is unreasonable, since violence is incompatible with God. A few sentences later, the pope was back to analyzing Christian theology. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi later told reporters that the pope did not intend to give "an interpretation of Islam as violent." The speech and the quotes were carried in major papers around the world. Some raised the question that, given existing interfaith tensions, the pope's remarks might spark anger. The pope makes his next public appearance on Sunday. And the pope, as is tradition, is expected to deliver an address, usually a message for Christians around the world. But this Sunday there will no doubt be many Muslims listening, to see if the pope has a message for them.
    http://dailynews.att.net/cgi-bin/new...060915&src=abc
    Last edited by Come Back to NY; 09-15-2006 at 09:16 PM.

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