I was quite surprised that Pope Benedict made a personal plea to mollify those who took umbrage at his now controversial Regensburg address. The violent reactions in different parts of the world--firebombing (non-Catholic) churches, killing a nun in Somalia (though the community is careful to avoid seeing the murder as payback for the Pope's words), shooting Christians in Palestine--all these are a frightening indication that reason and tolerance are a bit of a stretch for certain offended parties. I don't want to go so far as to say that the violence corroborates the worst interpretations of the Papal message, but it does kind of look that way.
And what was the point of the Pope's message? According to Benedict himself, "the true meaning of my address...was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect." That offer and invitation holds good for any who wish to take it up.
I also have a question: If a thousand-year-old quotation from a scholarly address is all that most of the people in the world know about what Pope Benedict said in Germany, is that an indication that the news media bear a great part of the responsibility for the irrational outbursts of violence? If reporting on the talk had focused on the big picture, and not made headlines of the words of Michael Paleologus (aptly named, at this point: old word!), would we be seeing these outbreaks of violence and calls for the death of the Pope? I think the media ought to be called to a higher accountability than the Pope in this case.