Captain's Quarters Blog

« Assisted Suicide: It's Not Just For The Ill Anymore | Main | Hurricane Hugo Hits Turtle Bay »

September 21, 2006
The Futility Of 'Clarifications'

The Pope offered yet another clarification of his comments at the University of Regensburg, attempting to ease the rage of Muslims around the world following his criticism of violence in religious conversion. The repeated attempts to appease Islamists have begun to create a different reaction from non-Muslims, as the New York Times' Ian Fisher reports from Rome:

Three days after saying he was “very sorry” about the reaction to his remarks, delivered last week in Germany, Benedict sought to clarify them again.

“This quotation, unfortunately, was misunderstood,” he said, alluding to protests and attacks on churches by offended Muslims. “In no way did I wish to make my own, the words of the medieval emperor.”

“I wished to explain that not religion and violence, but religion and reason, go together,” he said. He added that he hoped he had made clear his “profound respect for world religions and for Muslims.”

But in the crowd here, and around much of the world that is not Muslim, there were voices like Mr. Corbetta’s, saying the pope did not need to keep explaining himself.

Perhaps, some of them said, he should have been more diplomatic in his choice of quotations in his speech, in Regensburg, Germany. But some Catholics and other non-Muslims say that Benedict has distinguished himself from other world leaders in these tense times by speaking about violence and Islam — and that the violent reaction to his remarks simply proved his point.

Count me among this group. With every new apology or "clarification", Benedict gives more power to the violent demonstrations and the terrorists making threats against his life. The speech itself hardly gives any reason for any kind of remonstration, but even if one can honestly be offended by the rehashing of 600-year-old comments, Benedict's first apology/clarification should have been more than sufficient. The threats of violence and assassination that followed the Regensburg address more than proved the point Benedict made in any case.

Ian Fisher quotes a number of people in this article, including myself. He called me from Rome to do a short telephone interview after reading my open letter to the Pope, which he accurately describes as "anguished". Fisher accurately quotes me and gets the gist of our conversation exactly correct, a much-appreciated result. Fisher also includes quotes and analysis from non-Muslims who feel the Pope did not go far enough with his apologies. Overall, however, his story reflects what appears to be a growing consensus that Catholics may have reached their limit of enforced sensitivity to Muslim concerns over crtical thinking applied equally to all religions.

At the least, as Fisher also notes, the Pope's speech shoud stand as a message to Islam that Christians would start insisting on reciprocity in the name of ecumenical understanding. Benedict and his predecessor John Paul the Great have spoken at length about the need for tolerance for opposing religious faiths, specifically Islam. John Paul the Great raised eyebrows throughout Christendom when he kissed the Qu'ran. Since that gesture, Islamic countries have actually gone backwards in their forbearance of Christians, and the Church has to eventually demand reciprocal respect. Benedict's speech could send that signal, if he would quit backing away from it.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 21, 2006 5:43 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Futility Of 'Clarifications':

» Bill's Bites -- 2006.09.21 from Old War Dogs
The webmaster's blog-within-a-blog. Continuously updated, newest items at the top. Please click here to learn more about The Phoenix Project, then click here to see a selection of Old War Dogs merchandise. All sales proceeds go to support The Phoenix [Read More]

Tracked on September 21, 2006 6:09 AM

» Do You Rember How It Felt from Committees of Correspondence
Do you remember how it felt when President Reagan gave his Evil Empire Speech? Boy did it raise a ruckus. But you know something I was so tired of hearing over and over again how terrible America was with no response from our side. It seemed like the... [Read More]

Tracked on September 21, 2006 7:52 AM

» Cap’n goes Int’l, Hugo goes home, Press goes missing from The Anchoress
Blogfather Ed Morrissey has gone international! That is, his impassioned open letter to the Pope caught the eye of a NY Times reporter in Rome, and he interviewed Ed for this interesting piece. Said Ed: “It just seemed to me that by apologizing an... [Read More]

Tracked on September 21, 2006 9:53 AM

» A-List Rants about Politics: Benedict, Bush, Torture, Chavez, FBI from AListReview
I've been steering away from reporting on the political A-Listers for awhile, so here's an update on what they are ranting about:Have you visited the effigy store yet?  It is the only place to get your effigys to burn in... [Read More]

Tracked on September 22, 2006 9:47 AM


Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!