The Corner

ON BENEDICT

The Daily Telegraph has this to say: “it is not immediately apparent how much blame to attach to Benedict XVI for the worldwide furore over last week’s lecture. On reflection, the answer must be: not very much. Presumably, the Pope regrets quoting the Byzantine emperor’s opinion that aspects of Islam were “inhuman”. Moderate Muslims have been upset by it, and Benedict reiterated yesterday that he was sorry that they had taken offence. But he is even more sorry that this offence has been exacerbated by the deliberate manipulation of his words by Islamic firebrands and their slick media operation. The combination of grievance-nurturing multiculturalism and instant headlines is having a disastrous effect on the worldwide Muslim community. There seems to be no limit to its spokesmen’s willingness to voice outrage; and their messages are then picked up by fanatics who mount appalling attacks on Christians in Muslim countries. When was the last time a Muslim leader apologised for such atrocities? The truth is that barbaric attacks happen weekly. No wonder that Benedict favours an urgent dialogue with Muslims on the subject of religious violence, rather than the usual touchy-feely exchange of compliments. Well, he has started a dialogue now, albeit not quite in the way that he intended. And it is essential that it continue. A self-abasing apology from the Pope would have postponed that discussion yet again. We suspect that Western public opinion is not displeased that Benedict has said the unsayable. Now it is time for other churchmen to tell their Muslim counterparts that, in addition to dishing out criticism, they must learn how to take it.”