The more I think about Pope Benedict’s remarks last week, and the fallout thereof, the more I think I like this guy.
He initially quoted they Byzantine emperor Manuel II, who said in 1391:
“Show me just what Muhammad 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.”
It provoked a HUGE furor, with all sorts of people — not just Muslims, but some others as well — calling him all sorts of names and demanding all kinds of apologies and acts of contrition and even some for some serious retribution against the Pontiff.
Then he issued his apology, stating that he”sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful…”
A few accused Bennie (I like him so much, I feel comfortable calling him by a nickname) of weaseling, of backing down from his initial statement. Hell, at first, so did I. But then I thought about it some more, and two things struck me:
1) While whole hosts of people got bent out of shape over his quoting Manuel II, I didn’t see too many refutations of it, with people citing just where Manuel got it wrong and showing some positive innovations from Islam.
2) Bennie’s “apology” followed the liberal model of such things, saying in essence “I’m sorry you were offended.” He didn’t say he was wrong, that he regretted saying it, or any of the other hallmarks of a sincere apology; he just said he felt badly that some folks didn’t like hearing it.
I have a lot of issues with the Catholic Church in general, and I’m not really thrilled with a lot of Benedict XVI’s notions and policies, but in this matter he’s got this agnostic firmly in his corner.
Can I have an “AMEN!” from the people?