Recently, I defended Benedict XVI’s challenge to Islam in his remarks at Regensberg. Despite the barrage of outrage from Muslims worldwide as well as from Western secular society, particularly the MSM (mainstream media), the Pope has not apologized for saying what he said. He has, however, offered regrets that his remarks offended so many and of course he has capitalized on the new opportunities to "strengthen the bonds of friendship and solidarity between the Holy See and Muslim communities throughout the world."
It has been all too easy to criticize Benedict XVI on this score but really, isn’t there something out of whack here? It seems his world wide critics in some sense have acknowledged him as a great personage, a man of singular influence and a true world leader, and one who, for that very reason, should know better.
Yet, if this man truly possesses the stature and influence that these opponents freely ascribe to him throughout their distress, is it not possible that his remarks were soundly and strategically placed where and when they appeared?
These blowhards really give him such little credit I think. I admit it is a much simpler matter for me to see beyond the ranting, raving and, in some cases, mad violence. I accept that Benedict is Papa Ratzinger, the chief pastor of the whole Church, the Vicar of Christ upon earth. If he speaks for the Church and at the same time speaks for Christ to men, maybe something needed to be said at this precise point in the history of mankind. I don’t have a problem thinking along those lines. Maybe it’s because I’m Catholic and because I have settled on my profession of faith.
What I’m saying really amounts to this: It was time to issue a challenge to Islam and God chose the Pope to make a statement that only he could have made. The reaction itself tells a story and in a sense corroborates what I am saying. After all, if God had something really important to say to the world, would you expect everyone to drop to their knees in adoration? As far as I know there’s been no history of that sort of response.
If you’d like to follow my line of thinking a little further still, check out the following video link to an interview with Wafa Sultan, a Muslim woman of great conviction! What I hear her saying is something incredible, something that resounds with the Pope’s remarks: Islam must be challenged in order to progress beyond the violence of its past. In fact she says Islam cannot be reformed. It needs to be transformed, but it will take tremendous boldness and courage to even speak of doing so. A polite approach is not possible she says!
Then check out another similar interview with Brigitte Gabriel, a Middle Eastern survivor of Islamic terror who calls for similar challenges to Islam, and then a most interesting article by Islamic expert Bassam Tibi on the exact theme. (H/T Michelle Malkin for the last three links.)
Then, for the knockout finish, there’s this very unique perspective Holy Challenge, an excellent article from NRO by John Cullinan on Benedict and Islam which was referenced in Amy Welborn’s latest blog entry just hours ago.
Just one final note. Who can deny that Benedict’s words precipitated a worldwide avalanche of urgent and critical dialogue? It pushed me into thinking and talking. It got you thinking too didn’t it?
Dumb luck… or the hand of God?