"There is no compulsion in religion," Benedict quotes the emperor as saying. "God is not pleased by blood -- and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats . . . To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death."
It is not the case that Benedict was only criticizing Islam for impeding constructive dialogue and tolerance between faiths. Protestantism, liberal theology, scientific rationalism and leftward fringes of Catholicism are also called on the carpet.
Some Western editorialists grumbled that the Pope's words had been "ill-considered" -- an absurd charge to lay at the feet of the major architect of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
It was only in parts of the Islamic world that violence, including the cowardly murder of an elderly nun, erupted in a sometimes stage-managed response to Benedict's lecture.
Of course, such irrational bullying and intimidation only proved Benedict's point.
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
Opinion Piece on the Pope
From Herman Goodden of the London Free Press: