Sunday, September 17, 2006

Benedict's answer

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.


Anonymous said...

How blinded can people be? I guess most people would believe the papers and especially believe those who really want to stir up people to evil or get people to make reporting interesting (as if we don't have enough trouble in this world). We must pray for this situation, because really one can be one-sided about this matter. Help us, dear Lord!

katie said...

I agree that the media is skewed to exploit the exploitable -- and the focus in the Middle East (in my brief experience) is just what you'd think. But do we have a responsibility to tread lightly in the name of preserving or achieving a global atmosphere conducive to a dialogue?

I abhor the reaction of the media, but as it's something of a given these days, should we be compensating in order to prevent situations like this? (Or decidedly not?) I truly don't know.

Anonymous said...

"Tread lightly" is a good idea, but if you tread lightly all the time for fear of offending the hyper-offendable, will you be able to say anything?

meblogin said...

I say kill those first that would kill innocent people.