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Sunday, September 24, 2006


The Absent Apologies
New York Post Editorial

September 24, 2006 -- Pope Benedict XVI, like a true spir itual leader, is working overtime to mollify Muslims irate over his use of a 14th-century text that made the hard-to-dispute observation that Islam is a religion historically spread by violence.
Tomorrow, he is to meet with the official ambassadors of several predominantly Muslim nations in what the Vatican says is an effort "to re-launch dialogue with the Muslim world."

That's all well and good. Certainly, the pope has shown remarkable contrition, in light of the reaction to his words - a reaction that seemingly proved his point.

The pope insists his remarks were "misunderstood." Who could disagree with his point - that "spreading faith through violence is something unreasonable"?

But his repeated efforts to reach out to angry Muslims may well be seen as a sign of weakness by the very people whom he is trying to reach. Each new expression of regret has been met with demands for an even more fulsome apology.

Frankly, given the overheated rhetoric emanating from Benedict's critics, it seems clear that nothing he does will ever appease the still-rampaging mobs, until - like the riots that protested those Danish cartoons - their leaders decide they've extracted maximum political benefit.

Are apologies still in order?

Yes - but not from the pope.

We have yet to hear an apology from anyone in the Muslim world for:

* The horrific murder of Sister Leonella Sgorbatti, a 65-year-old Italian nun gunned down with her bodyguard outside her pediatric hospital in Somalia. The killing is believed to have been a reaction to Benedict's remarks.

* The violent desecration of seven Catholic churches in the West Bank and Gaza by Palestinian Muslims.

* Overheated responses that have seen Benedict compared to Hitler and Stalin, burned in effigy and targeted for arrest by the religious affairs ministry in Turkey, where he is set to visit.

Dialogue is a two-way street: Pope Benedict has more than demonstrated his willingness to address his critics' concerns.

If further apologies are called for, they need to be made to the pontiff.

Not by him.

Category: Church, (Religion) Discussion, News and Terrorism.

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