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« Ziusudra. . . . Big Deal. | Main | Pope Benedict Clarifies »

September 15, 2006



I just don't see the quote as a gaffe?

But I agree we should pray for Pope Benedict XVI everyday.

Take care and God bless,


"We demand an apology, or we will prove that Manuel Paleologos was right!"

Mia Storm

John Allen has some good commentary on the subject. As he points out:

"I have written before that Benedict XVI is not a PC pope. By that, I don't mean that he sets out to give offense; on the contrary, he's one of the most gracious figures ever to step on the world stage. Instead, he simply does not allow his thinking to be channeled by the taboos and fashions of ordinary public discourse."

I certainly have been praying for the safety of the Pope and will continue to do so, but I think it's great that B16 is willing to say what he thinks needs to be said and doesn't check the PC thermometer before saying it. John Paul told us to "Be not afraid!" and Benedict is showing us how.


Even if their objection to B-16 were fair, and B-16 was really out there to discriminate against muslims as being violent...

wouldn't they realise that this kind of proves his point?

The Waffling Anglican

If speaking the truth at the risk of getting in trouble is a gaffe, then I guess Jesus made quite a few gaffes in front of the Sanhedrin. Long may BXVI reign! And yes, this Anglican lurker at the Catholic door will pray for him on a regular basis.

I don't think it's a gaffe, either. I think he's raised a perfectly legitimate question for our present day-- what, exactly, has the "religion of peace" brought most of these people except extreme suffering??? As far as the historical context-- are the Moslems trying to claim that the vast swaths of Moslem territory weren't converted by the sword?!??

I just wish the spokesmen would stop trying to half-heartedly say that B16 didn't mean to offend anybody. Fine, he wasn't trying to offend anybody. He's trying to provoke people into a deeper examination and discussion of the nature of religion, violence, reason and extremism. More power to him.

And yes, we must pray, because exactly it's exactly the people most in need of this deeper examination who are most likely to try to kill him.


Whoops, that anonymous comment was me.

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B.

Jesus taught us that some spirits can only be dealt with by fasting and prayer.

"Jesus taught us that some spirits can only be dealt with by fasting and prayer."

That has not worked in the 1400 years that Islam has existed.

Kevin in Dallas

I don't think it was a gaffe either. I think the Pope was quite sure about his words. I think the reason for him to quote Manuel was two-fold:

1. To begin a true dialouge between the West and the Middle East. He didn't throw the quote out and then quickly walk from the podium. The Pope went on to discuss divorcing reason from religion. Having this dialouge with the Middle East means discussing who we (the West) are and how we see them (the Muslim world).

2. To encourage people in the West to start to look at where secularism is taking us. If we remove God from our reason, what do we stand for? I also beleive that the Pope's statements will be a rallying point for the West. How much do we cherish freedom of speech, if the Pope can't even speak candidly without being threatened or molested? Will the West stand up for its freedoms?


Anonymous poster,

"Jesus taught us that some spirits can only be dealt with by fasting and prayer."

That has not worked in the 1400 years that Islam has existed.

So Jesus was full of crap, or only partially right?

Look at the hoards of converts from the religion of "submission", and in fact titled the same in Arabic, to the Church our Lord set in motion. Think of the wars and violence and strife that's been avoided by fasting and prayer, that we'll never know about in this lifetime! When Jesus says something, he means it...and you can take that to the bank every time!


Tim M.

Yes, I too, believe that his statement was not a gaffe. If B-16 is anything, he is not a revisionist. He speaks the truth and the public / media outcry is only endemic to how the dictatorship of relativism is gnashing their teeth.

When I was a missionary in Bulgaria, I talked to very many people over the years that all had the same story as to how only the Orthodox monasteries "saved" the Christian faith for five hundred years. It was "convert to Islam or loose your head". This happened for close to a thousand years from Jerusalem to Antioch to Byzantium to the Danube and to Spain in Europe and to Alexandria to Carthage and Tunis in Africa.

er... and B-16's comment was not true, inflammatory and a smear campaign?

Yes, he could have made his point without using the quote. But taken in context, he said nothing wrong or untrue. It is better for any religion to not use "the sword" / violence to further it's membership.

Yes, we must pray for our Holy Father. I, too will lift you up before the throne of Grace.

Is He surprised by the backlash across the Muslim world? Has he already sensed what may happen in the Church and the world? In his inaugural homily, Pope Benedict XVI’s closing words were:

"Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves." —April 24, 2005, St. Peter’s Square

Yes, Holy Father, "Be not afraid". Please keep leading your flock and keep giving us truth.


Father Stephanos,
I suggest that we pray a lot harder. Prayer ultimately is the only power that can defeat evil.
Islam was finally defeated in the siege of Vienna way back when in 1680 something. Keeping Islam from over running Europe.


He who sows wickedness reaps trouble, and the rod of his fury will be destroyed. Of which tree is this the fruit?

Jimmy Akin

I'm not sure what meaning others are ascribing to the word "gaffe," but some seem to be operating on the premise that nothing one has said is a gaffe if it is true or insightful.

To commit a gaffe means to make a notable mistake, and the mistake need not concern the truthfulness of what one has said.

It may, for example have to do with the *timing* of the remark or the *manner* in which the remark is made.

The exact same truth would not be a gaffe if expressed at a different time or in a different way.

If you are trying to make a point about the relationship between faith and reason and you express yourself in such a way that causes (a) the point you were making not just to be lost because it is overwhelmed by (b) coverage of a major international incident that (c) involves the very kind of violence that you were speaking against and (d) could get you personally killed then that can reasonably be viewed as inviewing a poor or inopportune choice of words.

Speaking the truth and speaking it boldly is not protection against gaffes. There is a time and place for everything, and that time is not always "now" and the place is not always "here."

As Jesus told the apostles, "I have many things to say to you which you cannot now bear."

As Our Lord acknowledges, it isn't just a question of preaching the truth but of preaching it in the right time and manner for it to be most effective.


Here is an interesting article on the subject.

Jimmy, when in your opinion would be the right time and place?

Take care and God bless,


I think the Islamic short fuse, even in their clerics, shows the underlying insecurity regarding their religion.

It wasn't too long ago that I remember hearing a high-ranking Muslim cleric say that if people don't stop calling Islam violent, that they will be killed.


Had he foreseen the outcome, B16 probably would have phrased himself different. In that sense, his comments definitely qualify as a gaffe. That is not to say they were a mistake in any larger sense; there was nothing objectively wrong with the pope's comments, and certainly the accusations leveled by his Muslim critics are ridiculous. But it was a misstep in the sense that it had unintended, unforeseen, undesirable consequences that B16 would have avoided had he seen them coming.


I'm afraid the Holy Father forgot, for a moment that he now lives in a media "echo chamber" where an inartful phrase can take on a life of its own. It's clear that what the Holy Father "said" and what he "meant" are now divorced and his words are now subject to exploitation.

This may not get him killed but I'm sure that Christians living in Muslim countries like Iran, Pakistan and Turkey are feeling apprehensive right now.


Lets not forget to pray the Rosary--for the safety and well being of the Holy Father, and the conversion of the Moslems to Christianity. Remember how in the past, when the world was threatened by Islamic expansion and domination--remember Lepanto--people asked for our Lady's intercession, via the Rosary, and heaven came to the rescue.


But it was a misstep in the sense that it had unintended, unforeseen, undesirable consequences that B16 would have avoided had he seen them coming.

The Lord creates woe. It's a good thing.


This is what happens when you have Assisi prayer conferences.
Bl. Pius IX, St. Pius X, Pope Pius XI, Ven. Pius XII...none of them would have put up with this.

They wouldn't have even quoted anyone. They would have said straight out that Islam is a Satanic crock.

St. Francis of Assisi marched right into the Sultan's palace to convert him, and he also called Mohammed "that wicked slave of the devil."

The pope should not only not apologize, but he should reinforce whatever that medieval document said.

It is one thing to respect Muslim PEOPLE as Christ commanded us, and quite another to respect the demonic cult that has misled 1 billion souls.


JV is 100% right.

Gird your loins people, grab those rosaries, and get ready for battle, while there is something left worth fighting for.


After the reaction of muslims world-wide to the cartoons I can't believe that Pope Benedict XVI didn't foresee his comments as at least controversial and a challenge to muslim sensibilities.

Take care and God bless,

Brother Cadfael


How serious a gaffe is it?

It could get him killed.

I don't believe it was a gaffe on his part, and I believe that he takes it seriously enough that he is willing to risk being killed over it.

I have always believed (and I have seen this echoed by other posters on this site) that B16's first encyclical -- God is Love -- was a not-so-subtle shot across the bow of radical Islam.


Definately not a gaffe!!!


This article The Vatican Confronts Islam from July 5, 2006 by Daniel Pipes suggest that this is the kind of dialogue we should expect Pope Benedict XVI to have with Islam.

Again, I don't see this as a gaffe at all and am thankful for Pope Benedict XVI's approach to the subject.

Take care and God bless,


That has not worked in the 1400 years that Islam has existed.

Define "worked" as used in this sentence.

Do we think something works or does not work only on temporal consequences?

Jesus, after all, warned his disciples not to rejoice because demons were subjected to them, but because their names were written in heaven.


It's not a mistake, Jimmy. It is courageous.
After all, if we do not have the courage to speak the truth in our hearts, what use our faith? It would be easy for a pope in Europe to avoid all controversy about Islam by following the policitically correct line, or just never mentioning it except in platitudes.
That is not the way of the cross, and the Holy Father clearly shows us the way.

If you condemn the pope for this, would you condemn missionaries who dare go to the Middle East to spread the Logos of God?


Tom, I seemed to have missed the part where Jimmy condemned the Holy Father. Would you please ;oint it out?


Obviously, that should read "point it out". (Darn these flying semicolons!)


Bill, I hear they make really good pheromone-based semicolon baits these days. You just set 'em out on top of your monitor, and in a few days, all the little buggers are stuck. :-)


LOL, Margaret. Thanks, I needed that.

michael peter sebastian griffin

i beleive that it is the moslems that actually need the wake up call. in their minds they are always the victims. maybe introducing the truth in this way is exactly what each individual moslem soul needs. now the moslem will have an opportunity to analyze the holy fathers words and wonder why people for 1400 years have believed that mohamed was a liar and a murderer from the very beginning.

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B.

In Italy, leading Muslim commentator Magdi Allam expresses dismay at the "bleak and worrying picture" of a united Muslim front attacking the pope
Magdi Allam said that in some sections of the Muslim world there lurked a "blind ideology of hatred which defiled the faith and darkened minds".

From an Ansa.It article online.


Of course the MSM is also reporting the comments from the Muslim community that Pope B16 doesn't understand Islam. Seems like he hit the nail on the head, if you ask me -- and what the Muslim community is upset about is not that someone misrepresented them, but is instead another voice telling it like it is.

After all, the Pope said that God is not served by violence, referring to all people who would use violence to "compell" people to religion, but specifically to Islam because history makes it so evident! Calling for people to NOT resort to violence, in the minds of these people, means that the Pope is "using the language of the Crusades"?!

All this from a single comment within a statement that said that God’s will is not served through violence.



It may, for example have to do with the *timing* of the remark or the *manner* in which the remark is made.

One should note that in this case: the quotation was delivered in the middle of a scholarly speech.

If you can not quote things they disapprove in the middle of a text -- when can you say anything they disapprove of?

Dr. Eric

The Holy Father's works are always deliberate and dense. They are packed with so much that a reporter can't just take out a sound bite as the idea usually runs for paragraphs.

This was a bad "sound bite" taken WAY out of context.

But, in the 11th Chapter of the Apocalypse of St. John the 2 witnesses were killed and left to rot in the streets of the Great City (Istanbul is a Turkish permutation of the medieval Byzantine Greek word for "THE City.") I fear for both Peter (Benedict) and Andrew (Bartholomew) in November.

(Yes, I know that the City in the Apocalypse was technically Jerusalem. But Father Vladimir Soloviev was the one who has typed the two witnesses as the Pope and the Patriarch.)

Let's pray even harder for Pope Benedict and Patriarch Bartholomew. "May they all be one..." before there are none left.


The remark is clearly a gaffe; like telling your wife she looks fat in those jeans. It may be true but you don't ever SAY IT!

Wait until a Catholic Church gets bombed in Pakistan and then tell me it was not a gaffe ...


Mark, it's not like any excuse is needed to shoot up Christians in Islamic countries. Remember this?




What other truths should never be said?

May I ask if you read the Pope's entire speech or are you, like the muslim community, reacting to the MSM sound bite?

Take care and God bless,


Perhaps the gaffe part of the statement can be seen as the inevitable violent uprising that will get Christians in largely Islamic countries killed.

But I think the pope believes the time to comment is now or never.

Has anybody noticed how Secularists try to use Muslims to advance their political agenda? They repeatedly use appeals to the put-upon Muslim as a social critique that appeals only the emotions. They think they are clever the way they use perceived prejudice against devout fundamentalists to advance their prejudiced ideas against those they presume to be devout fundamentalists (ie, all Christians).

But for Muslims the issue whether they are put-upon or not is really moot. They may see themselves this way or they may not. It does not matter because such a dynamic does not enter at all into the dialogue concerning whether or not they will violently conquer their perceived foes. They care more about the status of Islam in general than they do about themselves, their families, their rulers, or their nations.

But they know Secularist attacks against religion in Christian nations weakens the force of Islam's most experienced ideological resistance force: Christianity. So they leverage Secularism in Western nations against Christians to set us at war with ourselves. If the culture war ever becomes "hot" the winner may well be Islam. It is a match made in Hell.

Of course Secularists are too young (2-300 years old) to see they are being manipulated by a much older, more stable social force. Secularists have no idea they are an endangered species nor do they care that Islam will not feel obliged to reciprocate any favors when the Muslim Replacements reclaim Europe and parts of the New World.

Muslims are violently opposed to all the favorite talking points of modern Secularists: gay marriage, repression of religious expression in the public sphere, anti-war, pro-choice, and gender equality at the expense of gender identity. And, like Secularists, they have no qualms about rescinding constitutional rights.

Both Islam and Secularism want Christianity to go under ground but for exactly opposite reasons.

By speaking out in the time and the place that he did, B16 is merely shining a light to reveal this dynamic for the charade it truly is.

Jeffrey Stuart

One only sees the cockroaches after the light is turned on overhead. In that vein, the Pope's words were "illuminating".

I stand with my Pope. God Bless the Holy Father.


I suppose few Muslims will notice that in a speech where the pope quotes someone who questions Islam's raison d'etre, he ends by saying we as Christians should not shy from those who would question the fundamental nature of Christianity.

By going into an ungodly rage, Muslims further underscore the point that the reason elevates man to God.

We believe reason is a supernatural gift from God that guides us to him -- a glowing shard of His divinity bestowed upon us as an act of kindness. This faith in reason is a gift of Catholic culture to the world. In all other faiths including atheism are horrifyingly random in their understanding of the cosmos.


Pope Benedict knew exactly what he wanted to say and he clearly felt the time to say it, in that lecture, was precisely right. That quote was definitely NOT a gaffe, not by a longshot. You're saying that a man who has spent a lifetime writing countless numbers of words down on paper had goofed when he included that quotation in one of the major addresses of his pontificacy, delivered at his old university with people listening and cameras rolling? And now all of a sudden he is taken by surprise at the world's reaction to it, as if this is the first time he's dealing with the public? I'm sorry, but that simply isn't so. Benedict is an old man now with tons of experience under his belt. And like Mozart's legendary music writing, every word and punctuation mark in that address was carefully thought out. Benedict the XVI, former professor, former Cardinal, and now pope, by this point in his life, is gaffe-proof! God bless this man and his courage. And many prayers for our Pope.

John G

Benedict the XVI, former professor, former Cardinal, and now pope, by this point in his life, is gaffe-proof!

Your remarks are reality-proof. Popes aren't infallible except when they're being infallible.

I think this is a good time to recommend reading Hillaire Belloc's



Take Two:
I think this is a good time to recommend reading Hillaire Belloc's prophetic "The Great and Enduring Heresy of Mohammed" which can be found at:



The sad irony to all this is that if ANY muslim in the world (no matter how extremist they were) had the opportunity to question our Holy Father one-on-one about his beliefs, of course B16 would tell them flat out what he believes. It's no mystery!

Making the _specific_ public statements that he did, whether he completely thought through each sentence before hand or not (and who are any of us to say?) will certainly improve his chances of martyrdom. None of us are asked to seek out martyrdom; I think this is Jimmy's original point. Sure, by the grace of God, we would accept martyrdom if asked point blank what we believe... but we don't volunteer our lives. We "choose" life!


I don't think this is a gaffe at all. I think at the minimum, it's simply an assertion of the fact that violence has no place in religion and the indication that Islam contradicts this, and at the maximum, it is a brilliant way to show the world that there is no such thing as Islam without violence. According to everything that they say, all the moderate, non-violent Muslims should be agreeing with the pope here. The fact that they haven't but have instead come out against him is showing that perhaps they are not so moderate as they would claim to be...


If the quote was a gaffe, then the whole part of the lecture that dealt with voluntarism was a gaffe. B16 went to the root of the matter (as usual), throwing down the gauntlet against both the religious-voluntarist denial that human reason (and moral reasonability) necessarily reflects anything in God, and the secularist-positivist reduction of human reason and relegation of faith to private subjectivity. It was all of a piece, even if the line from Manuel Paleologos was the most "brusque" [B16's adjective].

I would expect more "gaffes" in the future.


Wait until a Catholic Church gets bombed in Pakistan and then tell me it was not a gaffe ...

Well, considering the treatment of Christians in Pakistan prior to the Pope's comments...

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B.

Magi Allam, a Muslim commentator, in the Italian paper "Corriere della Sera":


.... The considerations referred to by the Pope, citing the Byzantine emperor Manuel Paleologus II, concerning the spread of Islam by the sword, whether on the part of Mohammed within the Arabian Peninsula or on the part of his successors in the rest of the world (with just a few exceptions), are an incontrovertible historical fact. Testimony to the fact comes from the Koran itself and from the reality that the entire Byzantine empire to the East and South of the Mediterranean passed to Islam, plus the successive expansion northward into Europe and eastward into Asia.

.... And now the Pope is being punished and threatened for having said what every honest and rational Muslim should accept: the historical reality. .... The ideology of hatred is an ancestral reality that exists in the heart of Islam from its very beginnings. ....


My translation of the complete editorial with a link to the original Italian:


The statement was not a gaffe. Its as if to say that the Pope does not prepare or think about what he is going to say. Something of this magnitude, especially with all that has gone on concerning Islam, I am sure he thought and prayed about. I think he meant what he said, I certainly do not think he is so absent minded to not think that these words would cause no reaction. I think he knows what he is talking about...

A Simple Sinner

"Anyone who calls us a bully is gonna git a whuppin'!"

You know what we REALLY need? Now that the world is getting online, it is time to form a serious apostolate dedicated to Arabic-language online evangelization. Everything written by Jimmy, Catholic Answers, Catholic Apologetics International, etc... needs to be online in Arabic. Yesterday.

How many protestants and agnostics and the like read themselves into the Catholic Church from the privacy of their own homes by going to all these FANTASTIC websites and taking time to learn what Christ and His Church are all about? Week after week Marcus Grodi interviews converts and reverts on EWTN's The Journey Home and as often as not many of them at some point attribute part of their conversion journey to the rich resources that are online or in broadcast.

A quote attributed to Cardinal Newman, "To be deep in history is to cease to be protestant." is just as true today and true for EVERY GROUP as it was 100+ years ago.

A Simple Sinner

Wait until a Catholic Church gets bombed in Pakistan and then tell me it was not a gaffe ...

Why do we have to wait? It HAS happened.

Attacks on Christians by Islamists in Indonesia
Religious conflicts have typically occurred in western New Guinea, Maluku (particularly Ambon), and Sulawesi. The presence of Muslims in these regions is largely due to Suharto's transmigrasi plan of population re-distribution. Conflicts have often occurred because of the aims of radical Islamist organisations such as Jemaah Islamiah or Laskar Jihad to impose Sharia. The following list is far from comprehensive:

1998 - 500 Christian churches burned down in Java.

November, 1998 - 22 churches in Jakarta are burned down. 13 Christians killed.

Christmas Day 1998 - 180 homes and stores owned by Christians are destroyed in Poso, Central Sulawesi.

Easter 2000 - 800 homes and stores owned by Christians are destroyed in Poso, Central Sulawesi.

May 23, 2000 - Christians fight back against a Muslim mob. 700 people die.

June, 2001 - the Laskar Jihad declares Jihad against Christians. Muslim citizens are recruited by the thousands to exterminate Christians.

May 28, 2005 - A bomb is exploded in a crowded market in Tentena, killing 28. This marks the highest death toll due to bombing after the devastating attacks in Bali. [6]

On October 29, 2005 three school girls were found beheaded near Poso. The girls, students at Central Sulawesi Christian Church, were killed by six unidentified assailants while on their way to class.

FROM: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians#Attacks_on_Christians_by_Islamists_in_Pakistan

ISTANBUL, July 7 (Compass) -- Six gunmen shot and killed a Roman Catholic
priest in his home in eastern Pakistan in the early hours of July 5, according
to church and police authorities.

Father George Ibrahim, 38, was gunned down about 1 a.m. while sleeping in his home near Okara, 180 miles south of Islamabad in the Punjab province.


I certainly do NOT want to see anything bad happen to the Holy Father or the Christian Faithful in Islamic Nations. But should the do something so vile as to attack or Christan brothers and sisters or shoot our Holy Father, it would simply mean that B16 would be reunited with JP2 and what a tag-team of saints that would be to deal with.

Ss. Francis, Abdel Mohti, and Raphael Massabki, Maronite Martyrs of Damascus, pray for us!

A Reformed Baptist Protestant


It looks like there is something regarding the Pope that both Jimmy and James White actually agree on. Is the world coming to an end or something.


The New York Times says in editorial that Benedict should apologise.
Strange, but I knew that western secularists would behave like this.

dan m.

Jimmy, a gaffe? Not hardly. Was it a gaffe when Jesus made a whip and drove the money changers out of the temple, overturned tables and generally got their attention by hitting them between the eyes with a 2 X 4. Pope Benedict said what needed to be said, in precisely the way it needed to be said. His courage and wisdom shines at this time in history. I'll pray for the Muslim ears to be opened, and for Muslim eyes to gaze in the mirror, for Muslim hearts to be transformed by the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


"I suggest we all pray about this."

Agreed. We should also reinstate the draft.


Once again the vague documents of Vatican II have caused these problems where the pope in his apology states that "we all worship the same God" and that "Moslems must be revered" which is totally opposite of all church teachings.

Again from a purely subjective thinking the Muslims might think and believe with a firm confidence that they are worshiping the true God, "Allah" yet the reality is quite the contrary as objectively speaking we can only affirm the contrary.

This point is clear from Scripture "Whosoever does not continue in the doctrine of Christ does not have God". - II St. Jn 1:9

The teaching and the beliefs of Catholicism and Mohammedanism are different and contrary. Their concept of, and their approach to God, diverge and conflict. Catholics indeed accept as dogmatic truth the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation and the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Moslems vehemently and vociferously deny the Blessed Trinity the Incarnation the Crucifixion of our Divine Lord and the Divinity of Christ . The Mohammedans have such a carnal notion of heaven that St. Alphonsus did not hesitate to declare "The Mohammedan Paradise, is only fit for beasts; for filthy sensual pleasure is all the believer has to expect there."

So why is the Vicar of Christ aplogizing? Why was this even put into the Vatican II documents?

IT is clear that only Traditional church teachings make any sense and must be adhered to, this renewal is false and is causing nothing but hate and confusion and weakening all Catholics.

The only way to bring about peace is the way the church has always taught, by missionary activity and conversions, but that we done away with as well at Vatican II in the document on Missionary activity.


Let us pray as we did before this prayer was changed by Pope John XXIII as we do each first Friday in front of the blessed sacrament as Ordered by Pope Pius XI:

Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thine altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but to be more surely united with Thee, behold, each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy most Sacred Heart.
Many indeed have never known Thee; many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart.
Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.
Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinion, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and the unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.
Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolotry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God.
Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of that race, once Thy chosen people. Of old, they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may It now descend upon them as a laver of redemption and of life.
Grant , O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise be to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and honor forever. Amen.
Pope Pius XI
Feast of Christ the King
December 11, 1925

World Muslims.........................1,155,109,000
World Catholics.......................1,044,236,000
Total World population................6,080,000,000
% of Muslims.......................... 19.0
% of Catholics........................ 17.2

Islam annual growth rate (1994-95).... 6.40% (from U.N.)
Christian growth rate (1994-95)....... 1.46% (from U.N.)

Growth of Islamism:
North America (1989-1998)................... 25%
Africa...................................... 2.15%
Asia........................................ 12.57%
Europe...................................... 142.35%
Latin America............................... 4.73%
Australia................................... 257.01%
Among every four humans in the world, one of them is a Muslim. Muslims have increased by over 235% in the last 50 years up to nearly 1.6 billion. By comparison, Christians have increased by only 47%. Hinduism, 117% and Buddhism 63%. Islam is the second largest religious group in France, Great Britain and the U.S.


i am a protestant who often reads your site. i find it interesting.
the fact of the matter is that the pope's comments are true!.
any person who just peruses through the history of islam will quickly see that this religion is the fruit of a self made prophet who subsisted on stealing and killing.
we, as christians offer the fruit of our lord and prophet jesus---LOVE.
may we find an opportunity in this evil, to turn it to good!.


...by the way i hope that POPE BENEDICT XVI does not apologize for only citing a historical sourse!.


John, you said it very well.

The problem with the Council and all this flowery "Let's love each others's religions, even if they stomp all over the truths of our own" is here for all to see.

The liturgy commission led by Bugnini changed the Holy Week prayers, in which we used to pray for the conversion of all schismatics, heretics, and idolaters, to praying for "those who have separated themselves from Thy Church."

Why? Why on Earth would that be changed by any cardinal or committee? Are the heretics and schismatics no longer in heresy and schism because we know refer to them with PC terms such as "our separated brethren"?

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Francis of Assisi, the great popes...they preached the Crusades! They WANTED (and rightfully so) the Holy Land back from the influence of wicked Islam.

And today we have popes issuing international apologies in 2000 for the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust...why? As Pope John Paul II noted himself, it is always the pope apologizing (for things the Church never did wrong) and everyone else keeps on.

I sincerely hope that Pope Benedict will not apologize. Even better would be if he dropped the quotation and came flat out and said what that Islam is a hateful "faith" given by the "wicked slave of the devil" Mohammned (ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI'S words, not mine).

Enough with this tolerance of religions that blaspheme against Christ and His Blessed Mother. No more. Popes should be hated by the world when they are doing their jobs, and Pope Benedict XVI is certainly doing his job.



You call yourself a Catholic apologist. Well, apologists need to know what they're talking about before they "detour" into exegesis.

Pope Benedict was NOT taking a detour when he introduced the vignette about Manuel II and the Persian interlocutor. It's at the beginning of the speech proper (the preceding were introductory remarks setting the stage). And the reference was intended. Benedict was speaking, not simply of the role of reason in faith, but of the constitutive nature of reason in the Catholic faith, as he illustrated by citing the Gospel of John. Benedict's reason for using the vignette he chose was that a god so transcendent that he has no parameters at all, including reason, invites humanity to lose its very humanity. He then went on to cite John and to prove that Catholicism has always included as inherent the concept of logos or ratio in its very definition of faith.

By the way, Jimmy, what was his "gaffe" at Auschwitz? The notion that the Nazis were trying to extirpate God by going through the Jewish people?

You're much to PC for my taste and much to much of an apologist for contemporary commentators.


Jimmy PC? LOL!

A reader

"By the way, Jimmy, what was his "gaffe" at Auschwitz?"

Exactly what I was wondering, so spill it.

I too have read the entire text of B16's speech and agree on what he said. I really wonder how many of the protestors read the speech before acting outraged, or did someone lead and incite the protests on the basis of only hearing several words? I just wonder because there is a very daft reaction to a very academic speech.


the islamic community(particularly in europe and the middle-east) cannot wait to get to streets to show their "power".
these communities are a particular problem for countries like england where they refuse to assimilate into society. with vasts amounts of money from the oil business, they have built quite an extensive empire, where again, in england for example- there were 150 mosques in the 80"s, and today there are over 1,100!!!.
believe it or not(being a protestant) i stand behind the pope.


As I recall, Janice made a comment not long ago to the effect that all traditional Catholics were, I quote, "stupid."

I wouldn't take anything she says very seriously.


Jimmy is hardly PC. It is arguable that leaving out the quote from Paleologos would have left the substance of the critique intact, without giving fodder to those who are just looking for "inflammatory" statements to find excuses for getting inflamed.

Still, the substance of the critique cuts very deep indeed - all the way to basic conception of God in Islam. If the outraged people read the whole lecture, even without the quote, they would still be outraged. What I hope and pray is that many so-called "moderate" Muslims read the whole thing and understand it. It is they who are going to have to pilot a reforming movement from within. We should pray that grace acts upon their human consciences through these (and other) words of the Holy Father.


By the way-Are we not still waiting for the "moderate" muslims apology for their fanatical fringe for flying planes into the WTC and other US targets?

This Pope is a historian and not like the past Pope who believed in unity at any price

I only wonder where the good Brother Cadafel is who hates traditional Catholics so much? Is he standing by the Vicar of Christ when he speaks out and says the truth or only when they are on ecumenical tours?>

Deacon DW

A couple things I've noticed about this whole thing: first, the press is sensationalizing it. Why are they even printing it to begin with? All the poor Muslim souls are being manipulated by the evil of the press--be it left or right. The same is true for Catholics and other Christians being drawn into it. Secondly, the Pope, in his lecture, which has been taken out of context by the press and the Muslim world, was addressing smart people--he wasn't talking to a bunch of dopes who wouldn't understand what he was saying. Maybe the stupid people should just stay out of it since he wasn't saying anything to them in the first place.

As an afterthought, it's pretty clear now that Pope's role has changed. He's no longer Prof. Ratzinger, or even Cardinal Ratzinger--everything he says is going to be scrutinized, and perhaps falsely criticized, by people who just aren't smart enough to understand it.


"And the line isn't even necessary to his speech! He could have made all the same points without the inflammatory line--and even without bringing Islam into the discussion."

An 'Inflammatory line' in Pope Benedict speech?! Am I truly in a Catholic blog?

"This didn't have to have happened, and it is hard not to see it as the first (or second) major gaffe of Benedict's pontificate (the other one being what happened when he visited Auschwitz)."

HUH?! When exactly did Benedict made a 'gaffe' in his Auschwitz speech? I read it at least 2 times and it struck me as very thoughtful, moving and sincere. What 'gaffe' are you referring to? I think you're giving Benedict WAY too little credit, he is definitely NOT stupid as some people in the media (and even some commentators) seem to think he is. Nothing he writes is accidental, he knows VERY well what he was talking about, he knows history far better than any of us do!

About the last thing I needed to read was a Catholic apologist implying that Benedict was inciting violence on purpose. Geeze.

So many times I've ignored your posts, but for once I just want to suggest: why not find a new blog to vent on? You are not giving "trad" Catholicism a good name; neither are you adding anything to the issue at hand.

"The teaching and the beliefs of Catholicism and Mohammedanism are different and contrary." Do you think we don't know this? Do you think any open-minded Moslems will really learn the truth about God by having their beliefs ridiculed and dismissed?

Conversions will come through respectful one-on-one dialogue, over a period of time, and with witness of the peace of heart perpetually evident in the life of a true son or daughter of God.


In case you missed it, here's the quote:

"Show me just what Mohammed 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."


william james


This was NO gaffe, not in word, not in thought, not in action. Now Mr. Akin’s commentary on this is quite gaffable, at best. The Vicar of Christ spoke truth, but more then this he exuded exactly what is required at this time in history. It has to be at these times that we brandish our faith above all else, as someone earlier said, when is the proper time to expound upon this worldly crisis.

Our faith has never been for cowards, it has always been for the persecuted. It is why we are whom we are. Catholic is more then a word, or a mere moniker, it is all of us, it is swung like a giant boom, it is meant to be put to the front. If you must question something, question the things that are doubtable, or even untrue, but don’t dare step back from truth itself, don’t dare hide from your believes, don’t dare back away from a challenge, for it is at these times when we must unite as one, to stand strong, for if we don’t it is what evil wants, the edge of separation, that hole to crawl through.

So Mr. Akin it is not the Pope I question here, but you, where do you stand in all of this, hide not behind gaffes or other erudite language but present the truth, this is no time for recourse but to shout, yes Islam, join the truth, distant yourselves from the evils perpetuated in behalf of your prophet. The Holy See saw this one just right, back the truth disregard the MSM.


To the unknown poster

When you get the guts to post your name maybe we can have a civil discussion. No venting here, just the facts like it or not


"Conversions will come through respectful one-on-one dialogue, over a period of time, and with witness of the peace of heart perpetually evident in the life of a true son or daughter of God."

Then I presume, Anonymous, that you would disagree with St. Francis of Assisi and five of his brother friars.

St. Francis marched into Muslim territory in 1219 during the Fifth Crusade, was captured, and taken to the sultan's palace.

The humble friar offered to throw himself into a roaring fire started by the sultan's soldiers, along with a Muslim, so that whoever came out unscathed would convert to the other's faith.

He expressly declared his intent to convert the sultan, and, were it not for the fact that sultan would have been vicious murdered instantly upon converting, would have done so.

He also purportedly called Mohammed "that wicked slave of the devil" and commended his brother friars who preached outside Mohammedan mosques about the evils of Islam before being captured and punished.

So I'm going to take a guess that St. Francis, inflamed with the love of God and the Truth, really wouldn't have had much use or tolerance for the endless conferences, prayers, false ecumenisms, meetings, dialogues, interfaith sharing and healing, and various "ecumenical efforts" which we see today.

I'm willing to bet that St. Francis would have delivered himself up into the hands of 10,000 of those rabid fanatics stepping on burning effigies of the Holy Father in order that their souls be saved.

Ecumenism, need I remind you, has placed us in the position of having 1/6 of the world clinging to grave error (Islam) and 75% of Catholics committing mortal sin each Sunday by missing Mass. Why? Well, if Islam, Judaism, and all faiths are "receptables of partial truth" or if we should "respect others' faiths," why bother? Everything's the same, right? We have to "respect" the faith of the lazy incompetent who sleeps through Sunday Mass, don't we?

You wait until the Muslims apologize for having savagely murdered 3,000 Americans 5 years ago.

Pope Benedict should have omitted the quote and formally denounced Islam for the error that is, just as past popes have always done (and if you want documentation, I'll readily supply it; you might begin with the beatified popes who preached the Crusades 800 years ago, and the saints, among them St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Church Doctor).

Kevin from Ohio in Virginia

I am in big trouble. In history classes from elementary school through college, I have quoted many a tyrant in historical papers. Hitler, bin Laden, etc. They have said many nasty things, and yet ... I QUOTED THEM.

Brothers and sisters, I have sinned. Please forgive me. I'm headed to confession.

Vivan from NY

I have read and now believe this has much to do with the actions of JPII and the V2 council and the continued falacy of this and other past popes that we all "Worship the same God" and that Moslems should be held in "High Esteem"

This is incredible! The Catholic Teaching: "Without faith it is impossible to please God." - Heb. 11:6

The non Catholic faiths are divided into monotheists (Jews and Moslems), polytheists (Hindus, Buddhists, etc.), and atheists.

From a Catholic perspective the Islamic worship is another form of false worship given to a "strange god" for as we read in scripture "All the gods of the Nations are Idols" - I Para 16:26

Ecumenism was not denounced by every Pope until the second Vatican council for no reason, but like other church teachings, the council defected from past teachings and is now paying the price in confusion of the laity, confused teachings, conflicting canon law (that grants over 60k annulments a year including my sister in law who just met with a well know Catholic priest who is on TV who is working for her to get an annulment) and catechism

I pray for B16 as he is an intelligent man and knows the dangers that face the church, and anyone can achieve "peace" if they give into everything including sacrificing your faith as JPII did, and B16 would not. God bless our Pope


Pope Benedict XVI was very courageous in saying what needs to be said in regards to Islamo-Fascism. And he hasn’t apologized for what he said. He just said he is sorry that the Muslims were offended.

But, I guess the Muslims can’t handle the truth.

By the way, leftists have come out and renounced the Pope’s comments.

Here is what one liberal blogger posted.


“I feel empathy for the muslims who just got bitch slapped by the pope because I had a boyfriend like that once. ”

Spoken like a true member of the Democratic Party base. Treats foreign affairs like it was the Jerry Springer show.

Brother Cadfael


This Pope is a historian and not like the past Pope who believed in unity at any price

I only wonder where the good Brother Cadafel is who hates traditional Catholics so much? Is he standing by the Vicar of Christ when he speaks out and says the truth or only when they are on ecumenical tours?

Right here John. You say that you believe in "facts." Lets see how many you got wrong in only three sentences. This Pope is a historian. Check. The past Pope believed in unity at any price. Buzz. One for two will get you a batting title, but not much else. Brother Cadfael hates traditional Catholics. Buzz. Now you're not even going to get the batting title. Oh well.

As for the answer to your question, you might check out my earlier post above.


"i feel empathy for the muslims who just got bitch slapped by the pope because i had a boyfriend like that once"-
anyone who rationalizes like that, should not have a boyfriend, and MUST be slapped!.

JPII and B16 are both exceptional men, and dedicated, devoted servants of God. JPII was largely a Cold War Pope, and B16 is leading the Church through a new, even scarier yet unnamed period of history. It would seem reasonable then that JPII as a reconciler of nations still badly bruised from the Last War, and suffering the separation and dislocation of the Cold war would operate the way he did, and that B16 given the post-Cold War expansionist agendas of many muslim groups coinciding with dramatically reducing numbers in our ranks, would see his work as more take-a-standish. This whole attack on JPII and B16 thing going on here smacks of a sort of adolescent "my dad can beat up your dad" argument. People trying to be right and sound smart.

I think the Holy spirit works through both men, and both men in their own ways were absolute gifts from God, whether gaffers or not. People should read the comments in this post from start to finish and take a good look at how mean and unloving we can be with each other sometimes. I'm certainly guilty at times of being uncharitable and hubristic with some folks here...just doesn't always seem very Catholic to argue the way we do.



We better start praying really hard for the Holy Father:

Somali cleric calls for pope's death

Attacks threatened over Pope's words

Our Lady of Fatima, protect him!

In Jesu et Maria,


I can't believe that Pope Benedict XVI didn't foresee his comments as at least controversial and a challenge to muslim sensibilities

Was the Pope aware his comments would likely incite anger, hatred and/or violence and he said them anyway?

Brother Cadfael


Ecumenism was not denounced by every Pope until the second Vatican council for no reason...

Perhaps you misunderstand the term. John, for example, seems to think it means "unity at any price." It most certainly does not. That -- not ecumenism -- has been uniformly denounced.

Sherry Weddell

The offending issue was not saying that there is a history of religiously justified violence in Islam that must stop.

It was the comment about the Prophet Muhammad that described what he had done and taught as "evil" and "inhuman". The prophet and his prophecy are the most sacred things in Islam - especially popular Islam. Ordinary Muslims routinely sprinkle their conversations with verbal affirmation of the Prophet such as "peace be upon him") and to criticize the Prophet in such a direct way is just about the most egregious form of blasphemy that exists to the Muslim mind.

Who knows what kind of wildly biased translations are being broadcast all over the Arab, Urdu, Indonesian, Somali, etc. media? Do we really expect an average working class Muslim in the streets of, say, Jakarta, to search out the original text on the internet and do a careful academic reading of a densely reasoned papal speech given *in German* before reacting? Give thou me a break.

A visceral equivalent for pious Catholics would be a horror that Catherine Doherty witnessed during the Spanish Civil War: a monastic cemetery in which the bodies of monks and nuns had been disinterred and arranged in positions of intercourse and the Eucharist prominently inserted into a pile of dung. Imagine how orthodox Catholics (imagine Traditionalists!) would react to that if it was thought to have been committed by Muslims and how it would have swept Catholic blogdom and media in 24 hours, rumor building upon rumor, and you have the general idea.

The Holy Father could have made the case against religious violence clearly and forcefully without that comment. And yes, it was a gaffe. Not for a minute do I think that the Holy Father, who is consistently gracious and kind to all including ideological opponents, would ever intentionally commit what he knew would be regarded as blasphemy in the presence of believers in that faith. He would never do it in private, much less in such a public setting and at such a time. It is completely against everything we know of his character and habits.

He is a human being and human beings, even the most brilliant, occasionally make mistakes. Someone on his staff should have caught it. He desperately needs our prayers.

It's another excuse that the crazed can use to exactly what they want to do - fan hysteria induced violence. There will be no trip for the Pope to Turkey now. And I'm sure that the Orthodox in Istanbul are trembling and Christians throughout the Muslim world. Not to mention Italian and Vatican security. And what do you think American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are thinking? Not to mention the Bush administration. No one is thinking: great idea, great timing!

PS. Actually there was a fascinating interview on Al Jazeera in which a Muslim cleric was lamenting the collapse of Islam and growth of Christianity in Africa in the 20th century. He asserted that 6 million African Muslims a year were converting to Christianity. While I think his suspiciously round figures are bogus, his general assertion is true. Islam totally dominated Africa in 1900 when there were only 8 million Christians in Africa. Today, African Christians outnumber Muslims by 410 million to 358 million. It isn't all going one way.

The Waffling Anglican

Was the Pope aware his comments would likely incite anger, hatred and/or violence and he said them anyway?

How do you incite anger, hatred, and violence in people who are mad at you, hate your guts, and want to kill you?


How do you incite anger, hatred, and violence in people who are mad at you, hate your guts, and want to kill you?

The same way you ask a question with your mind already made up as to the answer.



In the 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia, the word "Ecumenism" does not even appear. It goes straight through from Ecuador to Ecumenical Council to Edda. The heading Ecumenical Council contains nothing more than this: "ECUMENICAL COUNCIL: SEE COUNCILS, GENERAL"

In the 1965 Catholic Encyclopedia, however, no less than seven pages are devoted to the "Ecumenical Movement': In the short span of sixty years, ecumenism has come from a state of non-existence, to being the integral fabric of the "New Theology of the Church."

The ecumenical movement as it exists today owes its origin to a conference of Protestant missionaries at Edinburgh in 1910. Its original purpose was among Protestant missionaries of different denominations to promote a spirit of collaboration in order to "evangelize" the pagan world. A conference was formed shortly after by Brent called the "Conference on Faith and Order." In 1919, the Holy See being invited to send delegates, politely declined. Pope Benedict XV explained that although his earnest desire was one fold and one shepherd, it would be impossible for the Catholic Church to join with others in search of unity. As for the Church of Christ, it is already one and could not give the appearance of searching for itself or for its own unity. It is reported that the Holy Father did not disapprove of the movement as something outside the Catholic Church, but by his own words it is obvious he knew it was not only futile, but dangerous and even scandalous to the Catholic Faithful to participate in seeking unity in such a manner. It was through this movement that the World Council of Churches was born.

The Second Vatican Council had a great deal to say about ecumenism, without ever giving the definition of the word!

When Martin Luther denied so much of what the Roman Catholic Church held true, she took care of this problem at the Council of Trent... defining in detail each one of the Seven Sacraments, indulgences, justification, etc. The Church does not invent new doctrines at these councils, but defines and clarifies in a solemn and official manner what she has always believed.

The Councils of the past took the Church and the world from a time of confusion, into a period of theological stability. Unfortunately, Vatican II is the first council in the history of the Church that did not help in this regard. As a matter of fact, we must regretfully admit that all evidence clearly shows she only made things far worse.

william james

Sherry YOUR wrong.

Your Spanish war comparisons, is beyond the pale, if you compare what the pope said to what occurred there, well, I must say you need your head examined.

Sean S.

Jimmy, new idea for a rule: No bickering about the Second Vatican Council. Maybe then the comment boxes might actually cover new territory....

Just a thought. And, before anyone says it, I AM a true Catholic--or at least I try to be ;).

Sherry Weddell


Get a grip!. I'm not saying that the Pope's one liner is remotely comparable in deed or intent to the atrocities committed by the Spanish Communists. Of course not! By our western standards, he has made a rather mild observation in the course of a long tranquil discourse on faith and reason. The Pope meant no harm at all and if we were the only audience who heard his talk, no harm would have been done.

But the *feelings* engendered when average Muslims hear that the most visible Christian in the world have publicly called the Prophet "evil" (which is *exactly* and *all* he or she will hear, lets face it) are comparable to how Catholics would respond to such an atrocity committed by Muslims.

It's visceral, folks. None of this is about reason! The Pope is not receiving death threats because its reasonable!

Francis DS

Gaffe or not (I believe not), we are now all in the fray -- some more than others. There will be Catholics who are going to be approached by angry young Muslims with the ominous question: "Catholic?"


Francis DS: I've got a t-shirt to answer that question. It reads:






Any questions?

Angry young Muslims (or anyone else who means me harm) who come at me had better be able to read English(especially the third-to-last line).


I may get a few t-shirts that have written on them (in both English and Arabic): "I will not submit."

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B.

The pope is more than sufficiently intelligent.

He knows:
who he is,
what office he holds now,
what he was saying,
where he was saying it,
when he was saying it,
who would hear it.

Also, he apparently believed it needed to be said.

He said it in German.
Was it accurately translated into English?
Have the English-speaking media read it?
Have they understood it?
Has it been translated into Arabic, and if so, will that help at all?

I say again, he apparently believed it needed to be said.

william james

No, no Sherry, not that simple.

They the Muslims are OVERREACTING, that is the PROBLEM. We as Catholics would NOT react this way, even to the absolute atrocity you described above; yes it would be visceral as all strong emotions are but now, this day and age we would not react as they are. I would be horrified if it was done to non-catholic or any other person what you described, that’s sick, they are calling for OUR pope to be killed, think that through, some of them what him DEAD, this is utter bulls%*t and I will not tolerate the chastising that catholics are addressing the pope with.

If it fancy’s you to take some enlightened approach, all the best to you but hogwash on the holier then now approach, nothing said here has convinced me one iota that the pope was wrong, if anything it has dismayed to listen to some of my fellow catholics denounce what he said.

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