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First Things has also been looking at this (which makes sense, as they're Catholic). A few pages down today's postings, Robert Miller writes "a decent respect for the intelligence of the man on the Throne of St. Peter demands that we conclude that he quoted the text intentionally, knowing what the consequences would be, and did so for a reason."

Specifically, John Paul II tried the appeasement approach, but Christianity hasn't gotten any results, so Benedict (Miller suggests) is now saying "we will treat you how we want to be treated." I guess I would summarize by saying that if you want to have a substantive dialog, you have to be able to make substantive statements (without fearing for your life).

A related thought from First Things a while back is that Muslims speak out "Islam is a religion of peace" whenever someone claims it isn't. But they don't seem to speak out when other Muslims incite violence. If a Muslim wants to claim that Islam is a religion of peace, their arguement should not be with the West, but with other Muslims.

Thomas More

All solid points Tim. I wonder, though, about the intentional components about the Pope's speech--given that he seems to be apologizing for parts of it now. How do we reconcile the did-it-on-purpose v. I'm sorry dichotomy?


First Things also linked to the first apology and a news article about the pope's apology. In the first apology, we have:

"The Holy Father thus sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful, and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions."

And in the news article:

"I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims."

"I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect," the Pope said.

So really, it's not "I'm sorry I said that", but "I'm sorry that you took offence by it". First Things called it a non-apology apology. I'm inclined to agree he knew exactly what would happen and may have even figured out how he would phrase the non-apology apology before this all started.

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