Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Pope Benedict speaks out against jihad and `fanaticism in religion'
It's late in the day, but the Church has a leader in Pope Benedict XVI who understands what the West is facing.
Today, Pope Benedict spoke out forcefully aginst jihad and `fanaticism in religion' using the words `jihad' and `holy war' and referring to radical Islam openly and specifically.
The attack on extremist Islam's justification for terrorism came during a theological lecture to staff and students at the University of Regensburg, where the future Pontiff taught theology in the 1970s.
The Pope quoted criticisms of the prophet Mohammed by a 14th century Byzantine Christian emperor, Manuel II, during a debate with a learned Persian.
"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," Benedict quoted the emperor as saying.
"The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable," the Pope said.
"Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul," he added. God is not pleased by blood, he said.
The Pope went on and reiterated his concerns about a modern world "deaf" to God, and he warned that other religious cultures saw the West's exclusion of God "as an attack on their most profound convictions".
"A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures," he said.
Presiding later over an ecumenical prayer meeting with Orthodox Christian and Protestant leaders, the Pope led prayers for the success of discussions with other churches aimed at uniting Christians.
This was the second time the Pope has attacked jihad in his recent visit to this old home turf in Germany. At an earlier giant open-air mass attended by some 250,000 pilgrims, the Pope urged them to stand up for their beliefs in the face of the "hatred and fanaticism" tarnishing religion.
"Today, when we have learned to recognise the pathologies and life-threatening diseases associated with religion and reason, and the ways that God's image can be destroyed by hatred and fanaticism, it is important to state clearly the God in whom we believe," the Pope said.
"Only this God saves us from being afraid of the world and from anxiety before the emptiness of life."
This Pope understands the difficulties in combatting radical Islam without reaffirming our own spirituality. G-d bless him.