From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[ENS] Pope's Islam comments cause concern; apology welcomed

From "Matthew Davies" <>
Date Tue, 19 Sep 2006 16:40:39 -0400

Episcopal News Service Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pope's Islam comments cause concern; apology welcomed

By Matthew Davies

[ENS] An apology from Pope Benedict XVI for quoting, during a September 12 lecture in Regensburg, Germany, the words of a 14th century Christian emperor who spoke of Islam as having "evil and inhuman" aspects, has been welcomed by church leaders, but many Muslims have insisted that the papal apology did not go far enough.

The comments triggered violent protests and caused Palestinian Christian churches in the West Bank and Gaza to come under attack.

"One has to judge his views on his track record generally when talking about interfaith dialogue and his very generous appreciation of the Muslim contribution in the past," the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, said of the Pope on September 18 during a BBC interview. "It is a great pity if one phrase, which is a quotation, is taken as representing his own view. I think he has taken very significant steps to clear the air."

The Rt. Rev Christopher Epting, deputy to the Presiding Bishop for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, said: "I'm not sure how the controversial portion of his speech advanced his overall argument about faith and reason, and about religiously motivated violence being not only unfaithful, but unreasonable. However, I am glad the Holy Father clarified the fact that the 14th century citation did not reflect his own views."

Benedict issued the apology on September 17 for the furor his comments had caused. "I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims," he said. "These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought."

Full story and photograph:

--Matthew Davies is international correspondent of the Episcopal News Service. Portions of this article were taken from Ecumenical News International.

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