Sunday, September 17, 2006

17-Sep-06: Did He or Didn't He? Meet the Press.

Trafalgar Square: "Soothing Moslem Rage"
One speech, followed by one press statement. And another Rashomon moment.

So... did the Pope apologize? Does the Pope regret he made his comments? Or certain passages from the comments? Or the reactions, or the hurt feelings, or the offence to Islam?

All of these versions of his state of mind and of his press announcement can be found in the media this morning - along with all their mutual contradictions.

Pay particular attention to the headlines below - that's all that many people read.

One might imagine that the reporters, editors and headline writers could agree on the correct interpretation of a simple very well-publicized speech and announcement. But like almost everything else on their pages and in their stories, there's a significant element of personal agenda, of prejudice, of ignorance and of politics.

In other words, exactly what we see every day in the media's reporting of this ongoing war.
Pope sorry his Islam speech found offensive
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican said on Saturday the Pope was sorry Muslims had been offended by a speech whose meaning had been misconstrued, but Morocco withdrew its ambassador as anger at his words flared on. "The Holy Father thus sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful," Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said in a statement. [Reuters]

Pope Apologizes for Offense Caused by Islam Comments
By Flavia Krause-Jackson and Andrew Frye
Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Pope Benedict XVI apologized today for causing offense to Muslims with comments he made in a university lecture this week implicitly linking Islam to violence, and reiterated his respect for the Islamic religion. The apology, on the Vatican Web site, comes after Muslim groups worldwide protested and Pakistan's parliament called on the pontiff to issue a retraction. Some Muslims welcomed the apology, with others saying it might not go far enough. [Bloomberg News]

Pope sorry, says Vatican
Rashmee Roshan Lall 17 Sep, 2006 0043hrs
LONDON: The Vatican said on Saturday the Pope is 'very sorry' and 'deeply upset' that his remarks on Islam offended Muslims but press and public opinion throughout Europe indicated Benedict XVI may need to say the words himself to stamp out the spreading flames of fury. [Times of India]

Pope Stops Short of Apology to Muslims
By FRANCES D'EMILIO : Associated Press Writer
Sep 17, 2006 : 12:44 am ET
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI "sincerely regrets" offending Muslims with his reference to an obscure medieval text that characterizes some of the teachings of Islam's founder as "evil and inhuman," the Vatican said Saturday. But the statement stopped short of the apology demanded by Islamic leaders around the globe, and anger among Muslims remained intense. Palestinians attacked five churches in the West Bank and Gaza over the pope's remarks Tuesday in a speech to university professors in his native Germany. [Associated Press]

Vatican fails to appease Muslims
Posted on Sun, Sep. 17, 2006
Statement explaining pope’s remarks doesn’t quell protests; five churches firebombed
From Wire Reports
CAIRO, Egypt — The Vatican issued a mildly worded apology Saturday after remarks by Pope Benedict XVI outraged Muslims around the world. But protests continued, including firebombing of churches in the Palestinian territories. The pope “sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful,” Deputy Pope Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said. The pope meant only to stress his “clear and radical rejection of religiously motivated violence,” Bertone said. [The State, South Carolina]

Pope says sorry for ‘offending’ Muslims
VATICAN CITY, Sept 16: The Vatican said on Saturday Pope Benedict was sorry that Muslims had been offended by a speech whose meaning had been misconstrued, but Morocco withdrew its ambassador as anger at his words flared on. “The Holy Father thus sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful,” Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said in a statement. But Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood rejected the the statement. “This (saying sorry) does not constitute an apology. The Vatican Secretary of State says that the pope is sorry because his statements had been badly interpreted, but there is no bad interpretation,” Abdel Moneim Abul Futuh, a senior official, said. “The pope made a mistake, he must recognise his mistake and apologise.” [DAWN, Pakistan]

Palestinians open fire inside Nablus church
The Vatican issued a statement Saturday saying that the pope was "extremely sorry" for the offence his comments had caused.

Pope says he `regrets' Islam comments
CHORUS OF DISAPPROVAL: Despite assurances from the Vatican that Benedict XVI respected Islam, many prominent Muslims worldwide were critical of the pontiff
Sunday, Sep 17, 2006,Page 6
Pope Benedict XVI "sincerely regrets" that Muslims have been offended by some of his words in a recent speech in Germany, the Vatican said yesterday amid demands for apologies from much of the Islamic world and some reports of violence. The new Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said... The pope "thus sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions," Bertone said in a statement. "Indeed it was he who, before the religious fervor of Muslim believers, warned secularized Western culture to guard against 'the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom,"' Bertone said, citing words from another speech that Benedict gave during the German trip. The cardinal's statement stopped short of any apology for what the pope said. [Associated Press]

Pope 'sorry' for offence to Islam
Pope Benedict XVI has said he is sorry that a speech in which he referred to Islam has offended Muslims. In a statement read out by a senior Vatican official, the Pope said he respected Islam and hoped Muslims would understand the true sense of his words. [BBC]

Pope apologises but more needed: Muslim groups
Agence France-Presse
Vatican City, September 17, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI's statement, that he regretted causing any offence to Muslims fell short of an apology, Islamic groups said... The head of the Roman Catholic Church on Saturday said he "sincerely regretted" that he may have offended Muslims, but stopped short of retracting his words. The Muslim world seethed with fury over Pope's comments, which critics said linked violence and Islam. Reacting to Pope's statement, Muslim groups in Egypt said Benedict had not been sufficiently contrite. "This is not an apology. The Vatican secretary seems content to confirm that the Pope is sorry because his remarks were misinterpreted. But they were not misinterpreted," said Abdel Moneim Abul Futuh, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood group. "Pope made a mistake, he must recognise it and apologise," he added. In Jordan, Zaki bin Arshid, general secretary of the Islamic Action Front—one of the country's most influential political parties—said Benedict's comments on Saturday were "a step in the right direction, but not enough". "The apologies must be accompanied by clear and calming letters," he continued, adding, "if Pope's declarations were just an error, then an apology will be sufficient." But he continued that he hoped the remarks made in the speech were "not the Pope's or the Roman Catholic Church's real views, because then the situation would be very serious." [AFP]

17 September 2006
By Vincent Moss Political Editor
THE Pope said sorry yesterday after Muslims erupted in fury over his comments on Islam. Pope Benedict XVI sparked global outrage by quoting an ancient text linking the Prophet Mohammed with "evil and inhuman" things. [Sunday Mirror, UK]

Pope Benedict XVI Apologizes for Offending Muslims
Pope Benedict XVI apologized for causing any offence to Muslims following the furious reaction across the Islamic world over a speech where the Pope linked Islam and violence. [Toronto Daily News]
Sadly, the street mobs won't, in the end, care much whether he apologized or regretted; whether he took back his words or clarified them; whether he didn't mean to offend or whether he was conducting a crusade. Mobs don't respond to press statements. They're out there on the streets, serving the ambitions and political agendas of the religious and secular leaders who pull their strings, delivering a message of hatred, intolerance and threat.

A pity the editors, reporters, photographers and headline writers don't seem able to capture that insight.


Anonymous said...

The only man with balls turned out to be a pope

Anonymous said...

I think the irony is nearly overwhelming. Honestly, words nearly fail me - are these Musliim swine for real? Sorry, excuse my redundant question - to the nun they've killed and the congregations they've left homeless by burning those churches, they are all too real alright! Well, as a (formerly) non-extremist Catholic I can honestly tell you, the over-reaction to the Pope's WORDS, following on from the treatment of that Danish cartoonist, has left me feeling extremely hostile toward Muslims everywhere and hoping that my church rises up to use it's far superior firepower to wipe this ugly blemish of a religion from the face of the planet! Yes, that's right, I, a non-hostile Catholic, has become so angered by these animals that I now hope they DO bring their f***ing Jihad here and get wiped out once and for all by my God-fearing, peaceful church. It's at times like this I actually get behind the likes of George Bush as the lesser of two evils. Whilst he doesn't represent MY religion, at least he'll try and protect me and my family from these vile, unhinged barbarians. I really hope it has come to the point that Christians the world over draw a line and finally stop pandering to these filth - we never wanted violence or hostility, but they brought it. What is wrong with these people that they aren't happy until they have someone (e.g. Salman Rushtie, cartoonists, the Pope, country's and Presidents) to sentence to DEATH - they really are animals and my only regret is that the Pope even tried to open discourse with these vermin. See the rewards for trying to pander to these violent wretches? He's got them threatening to send SUICIDE bombers into his f***ing home!! Seriously like, what is this like???? I'm too angry to type. Dirty Muslim scum, dirty, dirty, dirty.

Anonymous said...

The violent response of the Muslim world has proven the Pope's statement to be 100% correct.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree, it is rediculous. They are just showing what militant Islam is really all about with their childish and barbaric outbursts.

Anonymous said...

To Gharqad Tree,
I am going to attempt to restrain myself in a similar fashion to yourself, whilst pointing out as firmly as possible to those (yourself included) that failed to absorb the Holy Father's message - HE DID NOT APOLOGISE - he said it was unfortunate that the Muslim trash (I'm paraphrasing) had picked him up incorrectly. I repeat, as I feel this is the crux of it, HE DIDN'T APOLOGISE!!! If he DOES apologise I will be firing off an email to the Vatican espousing my disappointment at his back-tracking! We owe these filth no apologies, nor anything else for that matter, they are as I have stated before, merely animals - would you apologise to your dog/cat/Ox (so the towelheads can relate)? I don't think so. However, not to veer too wildly off track, he didn't apologise, he simply pointed out that these stupid f**ks picked him up wrong. Maybe they should start using their eyes and ears instead of guns and bombs? Just a thought. As for Isreal, not my concern at the moment - the Pope being attacked is my only concern at present.

Oz_in_Zion said...

Gharqad, I'm sure you will not be surprised to know that as a non-Catholic Israeli, I'm not expecting any special generosity of spirit on the part of Catholics, Pope Benedict included, or from Arab Christians, Iranian Moslems or really anyone else. What continues however to amaze my wife and me is the can't-find-the-north outlook of the media. Take this for instance, published yesterday in canada:
Headline: Pope 'deeply sorry' for offending Muslims
Updated Sun. Sep. 17 2006 11:54 PM ET News Staff
Pope Benedict XVI says he is "deeply sorry" for the reaction to comments he made about Islam, adding the remarks don't reflect his own personal beliefs. "These (words) were in fact a quotation from a medieval text which do not in any way express my personal thought," Benedict told pilgrims Sunday at his summer palace outside Rome. "At this time I wish also to add that 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," the pope said.

So what's happened here? The Pope says "I am deeply sorry for the reactions", and the headline-writer writes "Pope 'deeply sorry' for offending". This is second-rate logic, and fourth-rate journalism.

Something else: I'm not anti-Catholic but you have to be especially tone-deaf in relation to the events of history and especially of Jewish history to think kindly and fondly of popes and their effect on Jewish life (in a word: negative; in two words: appallingly hostile). But here in this Regensburg story, the speech which Pope delivered (the entirety of which I have read) is complicated, dense, literate and fairly interesting. To hear it and him condemned by semi-literate mobs literally foaming at the mouth, and then to see those mobs discussed by media analysts as if they represented some sort of opposition camp in the public philosophic debate over great ideas of our time is a sad joke.

Then to read news reports like those I quoted in the blog and in the Canadian excerpt above, where the headlines tell a story that has no relation to the body of the article... that's simply another depressing indicator that large swathes of the media are in the hands of morons.

None of this means I'm not angry too about the hypocrisy of some public figures, but on the whole they achieve less harm than some dyslexic (or agenda-driven) headline writers.

Anonymous said...

To Gharqad Tree,
Well spoken. I also hold nothing against you, and truth be told, before this hostile over-reaction to the Pope's words I thought, in actuality, very little about Muslims (or Hindu's, etc.) It wasn't my place to feel anything about them - I would have felt I didn't know enough about them to make an informed declaration on them either way. I am (sorry, was) an extremely tollerant individual. I have lived with members of a number of colours and creeds and have enjoyed lenghty debates on religion and politics with (nearly) all of them. However I feel a line was crossed when my Pope was physically threatened. So, whilst my vocabulary may seem to be heavily anti-islamic, I can honestly assure you that before this incident I was as tollerant of the Muslims as I am of the Bhuddists, Hindus, etc. I'm afraid this is no longer the case Gharqad Tree. This is as regretable, as it was avoidable. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the Muslims calling for the death of the Pope have tainted like never before my view of a whole segment of the population.

Anonymous said...

To: Gharqad Tree,
I'm sorry to hear about your friend, and can understand why you feel the way you do.
It's important to remember that cameras only have "one eye" and we rely on the reporter to be the other, to provide the 'depth of field' on the story.
The tunnel-vision or focus, or whatever metaphor you fancy to represent the Media's POV, will never be balanced, or objective, as it is slightly more difficult to 'soundbite' impartiality in the kind of time the mainstream media makes for stories like these (not to mention corporate agendas). If it wasn't for the 'Net much of what is reported simply wouldn't be - and the 'Net is finally starting to set the focus on SOME of the stories that should be reported (just watch a week of Sky News whilst reading news blogs for proof of this). So maybe, hopefully, if enough Muslims read what they're making of themselves in the eyes of the World they might just pause for a moment and think about the Truth long enough to stop threatening to kill everyone and start to realise that at least SOMETHING must be wrong with them when every rational person in the whole World has issues with them. Maybe. There's always Hope (unless you're one of the lucky one's living with a death warrant on your head issued by these 'Peaceful' animals!).