Regensburg Vindicated

From  Read the speech of the Regensburg Lecture here, at the Vatican website:

Regensburg Vindicated
Eight years ago, the media claimed Pope Benedict's lecture was a "gaffe." They were wrong.

George Weigel

On the evening of Sept. 12, 2006, my wife and I were dining in Cracow with Polish friends when an agitated Italian Vaticanista (pardon the redundancy in adjectives) called, demanding to know what I thought of “Zees crazee speech of zee pope about zee Muslims.” That was my first hint that the herd of independent minds in the world press was about to go ballistic on the subject of Benedict XVI’s Regensburg Lecture: a “gaffe”-bone on which the media continued to gnaw until the end of Benedict’s pontificate.

Eight years later, the Regensburg Lecture looks a lot different. Indeed, those who actually read it in 2006 understood that, far from making a “gaffe,” Benedict XVI was exploring with scholarly precision two key questions, the answers to which would profoundly influence the civil war raging within Islam—a war whose outcome will determine whether 21st-century Islam is safe for its own adherents and safe for the world.

The first question was about religious freedom: Could Muslims find, within their own spiritual and intellectual resources, Islamic arguments for religious tolerance (including tolerance of those who convert to other faiths)? That desirable development, the pope suggested, might lead over time (meaning centuries) to a more complete Islamic theory of religious freedom.

The second question was about the structuring of Islamic societies: Could Muslims find, again from within their own spiritual and intellectual resources, Islamic arguments for distinguishing between religious and political authority in a just state? That equally desirable development might make Muslim societies more humane in themselves and less dangerous to their neighbors, especially if it were linked to an emerging Islamic case for religious tolerance.

Pope Benedict went on to suggest that interreligious dialogue between Catholics and Muslims might focus on these two linked questions. The Catholic Church, the pope freely conceded, had had its own struggles developing a Catholic case for religious freedom in a constitutionally-governed polity in which the Church played a key role in civil society, but not directly in governance. But Catholicism had finally done so: not by surrendering to secular political philosophy, but by using what it had learned from political modernity in order to reach back into its own tradition, rediscover elements of its thinking about faith, religion and society that had gotten lost over time, and develop its teaching about the just society for the future.

Vox Wrote:True, that. But still, a society whose laws aren't informed by the Church's teachings will have a lot of problems. Which is NOT to say that every sin should be outlawed or any such nonsense, as some of the very unsubtle, un-nuanced, lunatic fringe of the toxic trad types (typically, young males who are new to Tradition) would have it (even Aquinas thought, for ex., that prostitution should be legal because outlawing it brings about more harm than the evil the law tries to eradicate, which is what I think about the "War on Drugs"). The Church shouldn't have direct political power (aside from that over Her own property), which would cause more corruption of Her human element. Political power isn't Her purpose in the first place; getting souls to Heaven is. But God won't be mocked, and the laws of His creation can't be violated without repercussions.

Was such a process of retrieval-and-development possible in Islam? That was the Big Question posed by Benedict XVI in the Regensburg Lecture. It is a tragedy of historic proportions that the question was, first, misunderstood, and then ignored. The results of that misunderstanding and that ignorance—and a lot of other misunderstanding and ignorance—are now on grisly display throughout the Middle East: in the decimation of ancient Christian communities; in barbarities that have shocked a seemingly-unshockable West, like the crucifixion and beheading of Christians; in tottering states; in the shattered hopes that the 21st- century Middle East might recover from its various cultural and political illnesses and find a path to a more humane future.

Benedict XVI, I am sure, takes no pleasure in history’s vindication of his Regensburg Lecture. But his critics in 2006 might well examine their consciences about the opprobrium they heaped on him eight years ago. Admitting that they got it wrong in 2006 would be a useful first step in addressing their ignorance of the intra-Islamic civil war that gravely threatens peace in the 21st-century world.

As for the conversation about Islam’s future that Benedict XVI proposed, well, it now seems rather unlikely. But if it’s to take place, Christian leaders must prepare the way by naming, forthrightly, the pathologies of Islamism and jihadism; by ending their ahistorical apologies for 20th-century colonialism (lamely imitating the worst of western academic blather about the Arab Islamic world); and by stating publicly that, when confronted by bloody-minded fanatics like those responsible for the reign of terror that has beset Syria and Iraq this summer, armed force, deployed prudently and purposefully by those with the will and the means to defend innocents, is morally justified.

George Weigel is a senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

Pope Benedict,St John Damascene and Gregory Palamas were all correct on Islam. Boy  I saw it first hand in my neck of the woods a few years ago when in this small Florida town it made international[i] news and caused violence when some no name Protestant pastor was going to burn a Koran! Think about it, this guy in North Central Florida with a congregation of maybe 50 threatens to burn a Koran and it makes international headlines and precipitates violence. Word on the street was even the U.S. government called the guy and practically begged him to back down for fear of the rivers of blood that would follow in its wake!

The only thing I regret about Benedict XVI and Regensburg is that he kind of backed down and apologized for what he said. As far as Islam goes a tree is known by its fruits,and the poisonous tree of Islam has nothing to show for itself save over a thousand years of genital mutilation,sex slavery,beheadings,bombingsrape,pillage,and barbarism. Benedict XVI was dead on and had nothing to say he was sorry for. [i]
From what I understand from Benedict's footnote he only clarified that the statement by emperor Manuel II (which, by the way, I agree) "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.”, might not reflect his views. He didn't apologize: there's no reason to apologize, after all. He doesn't even make footnotes on the claim that the early parts of the koran are more pacific because Mohammed was still in a minority, and the later parts of the koran are more violent because Mohammed already enjoyed some military success. This says a lot about this supposedly unchangeable literal word of God. Or on the accusation of voluntarism, which is quite correct.

What most irritates me about the reception of this address is that it wasn't even rational critiques: its based solely on political correctness, on immediate responses, on unthinking blame games.
This shows how utterly coward and irrational Western society became.
I was always curious why Pope Benedict was so straightforward on this issue back then since it was very unecumenical of him. Well anyway it doesn't matter the whole mood in Rome has changed since that talk,

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