9/18/2006

The Pope Apologizes and...

What sort of a reaction does he get?
"That's not an apology."
"Be more clear."
"Please issue another apology."
Meanwhile, 2,000 Palestinians protested, churches have been bombed, a nun was killed in a hospital in Somalia and Muslim leader in London is calling for the Pope's death.
Great.
Real peaceful guys. Real peaceful.
One of these days, the world is going to run out of sympathy for these nutbars. It will be like the boy who cried wolf. They will blame the "West" for one too many things that are not its fault, they will protest one too many times and take things one step too far. Then, people will just give up, ignore them and let them sit and stew in the mess they created for themselves.

4 comments:

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

You're COMPLETELY correct about the reaction in the "Arab street" of course.

But still, that "apology"? It was the classic "non-apology apology". No politician could have done better. "I'm sorry what I said offended you" is not an apology. You can't say that the Prophet of Islam brought nothing new to the world that wasn't evil and inhuman, and then simply say "I'm sorry that upset you". Please.

It's like calling someone's mother fat, and when they demand you apologize, you say "I'm sorry you're upset that I called your mother fat". This is the kind of apology I expect from Bill Clinton, not the pontiff.

Either you think there is nothing in the teachings of Muhammed that isn't evil and inhuman, in which case you shouldn't apologize, or you think it was wrong to say that, and you should apologize FOR SAYING IT, not for the reaction it caused.

There's no excuse for the reaction in the Muslim world to the Pope's remarks. But the remarks WERE biggoted and unChristian, and not indicative of the modern Church.

And I'm sorry if my saying so offends you.

Ruth said...

LKO, did you read the entire text of the Pope's speech? I talk about it here and the speech itself can be found here.
The Pope's speech was NOT about Islam. He never said it was an evil religion and he did not insult Muslim's at all. The Pope's speech is abotu the divorce of reason from religion in the modern world. It is about our inability to effectively discuss cultural and religious subjects and it is about whether or not acting unreasonably is in contradiction to God's will.
Let me be frank: as far as I am concerned, the Pope had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to apologize for. He didn't insult anyone directly or indirectly. In light of this, that he offered an apology shows a great degree of humility.
I should also point out that there has not been a single accurate report on the contents of the Pope's speech. I had to go and find the speech myself in order to figure out what happened. I at least partially blame the Western media for what has happened since the speech. As far as the Muslim reaction goes, there is simply no excuse for it at all.

PS: I am not offended by your comments. I just think you are wrong and have not done this issue due dillegence.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

This reminds me a bit of the brouhaha at Ryerson when Margaret Sommerville received her honourary degree but was met with a lot of protesting from gay supporters because of her stand against gay adoption. She said she was sorry that how she felt offended them. Of course, nobody there was calling for Margaret's head on a platter.

Ruth, you said "One of these days, the world is going to run out of sympathy for these nutbars." I really don't think it's sympathy that is keeping everyone silent. It is fear.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Ruth,

I do understand (somewhat) the context of the speech, and I agree that a rational argument could be made that the Pope had nothing to apologize for, given the context of the comments.

However, (and this by no means excuses and violent reactions, or even violent rhetoric from the "muslim community" as it were) I don't think arguments of "context" are necessarily helpful, or expectations of rationality reigning realistic, in a situation in which the Pope has quoted a passage, for any purpose, which says "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman...". I can't believe the Pope never envisioned that those words, coming out of his mouth, (in any context) might cause problems.

It also seems to me that part of the argument being made here is that the quote is taken out of context, which is true. However, at least part of the broader context of the argument seems to me be that the Christian view of God is correct, and the Muslim view of God is not. The larger argument seems to be that the Christian tradition of God being bound by reason is correct, and the Islamic tradition of God being absolutely transcendant is wrong. (I quote from the speech: "The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: 'For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.' Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practice idolatry.").

Now, I wouldn't expect the Pope to make any other arguments than "My view of God is right, yours is wrong", after all, he is the Pope! But to state that the quote calling Mohammed's works "evil and inhuman" was merely part of a larger thesis explaining the superiority of the Catholic view of "God and rationality" to all other views of "God and rationality" seems to me to miss the point.

I also think, that if the pontiff felt he need not apologize for quoting the passage, (which I agree an argument could be made was not required) then he shouldn't have "apologized" at all. Someone from the Vatican (not the Pope I think) should have explained that the Pope's quotation was taken out of context, and that he in no way intended to assert that the teachings of Mohammed were evil and inhuman, and perhaps (assuming this is true) that the Pope regrets quoting from such an anachronistic text that does not refelct his view of other faiths.

I just think saying "I apologize for the way people reacted to what I said, and that people were offended by what I said" implies that he doesn't understand why people were offended. Perhaps, in the context of the entire speech, the Pope DOESN'T understand why people were offended. Fair enough. But if that's the case, he probably would have been better off not "apologizing" at all.

P.S. Oh, and, I realized (or rather, assumed) you wouldn't be offended by my post. My "and I'm sorry if my saying so offends you" was just my own cheeky little "apology that apologizes for your reaction, not my action". I used to refer to such an apology as "Clintonian", but perhaps "Pontifical" now applies.

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