18 September 2006

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

The Western media say the Pope has 'apologised' for his comments on Islam. The most common headline is "Pope 'deeply sorry' for offending Muslims". But has he really apologised?

The exact text of the statement reads "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". That is, he is sorry for the reaction to what he said, not for what he said. In other words, "The problem is not with me; the problem is with you guys."

We can also speculate over this was really a faux pas. Vatican 'experts' on CNN and BBC went on and on about how this Pope had spent most of his career as an 'academic', as compared to his predecessor, who was more politically savvy. Well, you don't need to be a political genius to figure out that quoting a line like "Show me just what Muhammad 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" will cause all hell to break loose. My own feeling is he knew exactly he was doing. But even he must realise now that he went too far. An Italian nun has been shot and killed in Somalia. Let's hope there's no more bloodshed.

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