Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Pope vs. Islam

As I have noted in earlier posts on this blog it does appear to me that it must have been a conscious choice to use the relevant quote, critical of Islam, that the Pope did use in his speech. It would appear to me he included this quote as something of a snipe. Emphasising Islam's irrationality so that his speech about rationality served the additional purpose of making clear that Christianity was special; particulary by comparison to its closest, by numbers, rival. I do not think this was wise for a figure like the Pope whose spiritual authority implies he cannot easily speak just for himself.

However, the reaction of the Muslim world has been so utterly irrational and savage that criticism of the Pope is no longer helpful. What seems remarkable to me is the tendency of the protests to steadily increase after the initial crisis. They appear less out of outrage at the offence itself, which one would assume would dissipate from the moment it was given, but, instead, as part of a desire to prove one's religious piety by comparison to other people and areas of the world. This response has nothing to do with genuine questions over the Pope's comments and does not deserve the succour which comes with continued criticism of his actions even if that criticism is more subtle and sensible among the Western commentariat. If you wish to find offensive opinions and actions you will find that the Vatican is not the best place to look at the moment. The Pope is more sinned against than sinning.

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