Faith, Reason and the University

On his lecture last September 12, 2006 regarding “Faith, Reason and the University” in the University of Regensburg, where he was formerly a professor, Pope Benedict XVI quoted the opinion of Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos, saying:

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.

pope.jpgThe quotation from this medieval text drew condemnation from a number of individual governmental representatives and various muslim religious leaders urging the Pope to retract his statement and issue an apology about it. Two cases of bomb attacks in churches in the West Bank in Germany were said to be linked to that statement.

On September 17, Pope Benedict publicly expressed that he was “sorrowed” by the reactions in some countries and stressed that the words which ‘were considered offensive’ were not his own, but were quoted from a medieval text.

You might ask why, what’s the consequence of the Pope issuing an apology? Well, of course, issuing an apology would constitute a clear acceptance of his error, and as such would contradict the doctrine of the Pope’s infallibility.

In Doha, in an announcement by the parish priest at the end of the mass last Sunday, the priest pointed out that two police cars were parked outside (which by the way we didn’t even notice on our way inside) and police officers were tasked to safeguard any contingent threat or activity that may be carried out against the parishioners and the church.

Aside: Quite interesting that there is an unofficial blog covering His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in http://www.thepopeblog.blogspot.com/.

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