Showing posts with label Christianity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christianity. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

For This Pope, the Reformation Will Never Be Over

He took on heathens, Muslims and Jews. Now, it's the Protestants' (and Orthodox Christians') turn. You get the impression that he would have been mighty handy with the rack.

The Vatican spin doctors are used to it by now; Father Augustine Di Noia, under-secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, went into action.

"The Church is not backtracking on ecumenical commitment," Di Noia told Vatican radio.

"But, as you know, it is fundamental to any kind of dialogue that the participants are clear about their own identity. That is, dialogue cannot be an occasion to accommodate or soften what you actually understand yourself to be."

Nothing can be further from the truth. Cardinal Ratzinger is defining the identities of the Orthodox Churches and the Protestant denominations, not the Catholic Church. Look:

A 16-page document, prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Pope Benedict used to head, described Christian Orthodox churches as true churches, but suffering from a "wound" since they do not recognize the primacy of the Pope.

But the document said the "wound is still more profound" in the Protestant denominations -- a view likely to further complicate relations with Protestants.

"Despite the fact that this teaching has created no little distress ... it is nevertheless difficult to see how the title of 'Church' could possibly be attributed to them," it said.

The Vatican text, which restates the controversial document "Dominus Iesus" issued by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2000, said the Church wanted to stress this point because some Catholic theologians continued to misunderstand it.

Pope Benedict seems to have stopped growing in the 16th Century.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Pope Is Merely Being Honest

These "missteps" by this narrowly focused Pope remind us what the Christian West continues to think about the conquest of the New World (their term!), and the relationship with their Jewish and Muslim neighbors. The "most troubling pattern", if there is one, is not the one of recurrent error and backtrack sequences, but the consistent outlook that remains the norm in Western society even today.

There is a thin veneer of mostly liberal intellectuals, including a few who go overboard with cultural and moral relativism who are over-represented in the media and academia that might give the impression that the Pope is an aberration. But I suspect that he is closer to the rule than the exception.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Again, Pope

Richard Roeper, one of my two favorite subscription-free columnists, also takes a dig at the Pope for issuing a non-apoplogy. Mr. Roeper is a Catholic, in case you didn't know.

And here's an article by Karen Armstrong and comments by readers that probably offer every argument under the sun over the relationship of Islam, Christianity and violence. Yes, I have great respect for Dr. Armstrong. Yes, I think she sometimes tries too hard to see the good in people. No, I didn't read 1/10th of the comments. I found the entry by way of Real Clear Politics, a truly useful portal.

The Pope May Or May Not Be Infallible, But He Can Certainly Be a Fool

If the Pope's reference to Islam in his University of Regensburg address had been taken out of context, then it was because the reference itself stuck out like a sore thumb. The Pope's turgid rehash of well-known arguments concerning faith and reason (the good Dr. Jean-Yves Pranchère introduced me to Isaiah Berlin, who provides easily digestible accounts on this issue) was intended almost solely "to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian faith: this, within the university". There is little to indicate that he wished to use the occasion to initiate an ecumenical debate on the role of reason in religion, as his words that the address was "an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with mutual respect" between, specifically, the people of the book, as Muslims call them. Instead, the address makes it clear that the Pope is interested only in the developments within the Christian Church. Thus, the reference to an argument by a Byzantine emperor against Islam on the basis of its "conversion by violence" can be only charitably characterized as gratuitous.

But my greatest disappointment is directed at his statement that "I wish also to add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address……, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims". The Pope has responded with what has now become the boilerplate, litigation-averse, "I'm sorry if you were offended"non-apology. I had hoped that the Catholic Church learned its lesson from its pederasty pandemic that what might work with the profane does not necessarily work with the sacred.

The rabble-rousing in the Islamic Nation is disturbing, if predictable,. They victimize the vulnerable, doing the Islamic equivalent of kicking nuns. And some of the response from the radical Islamic leadership is pathetic. Still, I expected something better from the Holy See, of all places.

もし、法王がレーゲンスブルグ大学での講演で行なった回教への言及が全体の趣旨を無視して引用されていたとしたら、それは、言及自体が全体の趣旨からまったく遊離していたからです。法王は、よく知られている新興と理性との関係に関する議論(reason (ジャン=イーヴ・プランシェール博士 Jean-Yves Pranchèreが紹介してくれたアイゼイア・バーリンが、この問題についてわかりやすい論文をいくつも書いています)を冗長に反芻したわけですが、それは、ほとんど「理性の活用によって神の問題を提起し、それを、本学において、キリスト教の信仰という範囲の中において行なう」ことに終始しました。「相互に尊重しあいながら率直かつ真摯な対話を呼びかける」という釈明文のセリフが示唆するようにこの機会を彼が利用して宗教における理性の役割について汎宗教的な議論を巻き起こそうというような意図を感じさせるものは、ほとんどありません。演説は、むしろ、法王がキリスト教会の中での事態の展開にのみ関心を持っていることを明らかにしています。従って、東ローマ帝国の皇帝が回教に対して行なった「暴力による改宗」の非難への言及は、よく言って余計なお世話です。


イスラム世界における大衆煽動は、予想されたこととは言え、心穏やかに見守っているわけにはいきません。それは、弱者に八つ当たりするものであり、いわゆるkicking nunsのイスラム版です。そして、イスラム過激派のリーダー達から聞こえてくる反応には、惨めとしか言いようのないものもあります。しかし、よりにもよってカトリック教会の長からは、もう少しましなことを期待したのですが。