Sunday, September 17, 2006

Insanity knows no limits......

I do not wish to offend any religion. And truth of matter is, I have great respect for all established or non established religions. When the heart speaks, the honest should listen with entirety and kind gesture.

There will be a time truths shall become insignificant. Lies and intentional manipulation of truth shall become a politically correct deceiveful arts of emotional manipulation to suppress truths. These world is full of perverted and perpetual full time grievance seekers and immoral apologists. As a Buddhist, and for any true followers of any religion, we know, evil doers will always hijack established name of religions to manipulate the unfaithful to seek false justice to defend the perverted non honour of their religions.

Sometimes, truths can be unpleasant. But when the truth was spoken, please learn to respect truths and handle it with dignity and grace. Why should self proclaimed peace lovers always resorted to violences as a solution to defend truth ? Are they sincerely and honestly peace loving in the first place ?

Violence mongers will always rub their palms with anticipations to intentionally misinterpret situations and cause confusions to create opportunities for perverted violences and disharmony. And, there will always be misguided followers to purvey threats and carry out violences to suppress truths in the hope of perpetuating and glorifying hiddened agenda. This has always been a dark, sad, and unending chapter of humanity. Angels are weeping in their hearts for their inability to seek salvations for mankind. My friends, for whatever misplaced angers you may have, truth always resides within the hearts of the reasonable man who believe in the almighty. Truth does not need to be defended by the insincere, uncivilized, and the misguided ! Your service to defend truths and honours of your religions is not needed here. God knows how to handle truths and honours !

I read with disbelief the disproportionate misplaced angers and outrages against the Pope Benedict XVI's lecture in the University of Regensburg entitled "Faith, Reason and the University - Memories and Reflections". To be fair, my Buddhist's tao compelled me to read the whole text of the Pope's speech. I am indeed saddenedd by those perpetual grievances seekers who intentionally misquote contextually a small paragraph of the speech to instigate hatreds and violences. If the speech is to be understand in its entirety, the Pope has appeal to mankind to adopt reasonableness of faiths, the need to love fellow human beings, the need for dialogues to eradicate violences and hatreds against one another, and the need for greater unity among different faiths for greater enlightenment of spirituality.

As an unsophisticated layman, if I can understand the positive and peaceful message deliver by the speech of the Pope, I sincerely failed to understand, why there are so many Excremists can intentionally fantasizing between the lines to misquote the frank intention of the Pope to achieve negative agendas. What satisfaction do these people get if lives are lost and bloods are shedded ? Please, please, do not pollute the intended positive message for peace, love, unity, and understanding ! Do they seek to understand ? Or are they simply incapable of logical understanding ?

So they want apology ? On behalf of humanity, here is my apology. I am sorry for being able to understand the message of the Pope calling for Peace and reasonableness. I am sorry for refusing to accept the evil interpretation of a small group of deviants who seek to create further disharmony in this already corrupted earthly garden of sins. I am sorry for refusing to accept violence as a mean to resolve misunderstandings. I am sorry that there are Excremists with pissfull state of minds. I am sorry that the great Buddha statues was wrongly sited in Afghanistan that need to be destroyed. I am sorry that thousands of innocent victims are murdered in 9/11. I am sorry that hundred of innocent holiday makers are murdered in Bali. I am sorry that innocent Korean and Nepalese wage earners are beheaded. I am sorry because there is no compulsion in my beliefs....

But the fact is, we have understand enough and awakened from our apologist state of mind. Actions speak louder than words, so, please enlighten me with your demented definition of peace and love.

When the Pope's speech is intentionally twisted and misquoted contextually. Is it not reasonable to expect a lot of simple minded people will be offended ? Some maybe even incited into dangerous emotional rhetorics and misplaced angers. There is a limit to falsehood, and I strongly believe that God ( of any religion ) dislike falsehood and intentional manipulation of words to create disharmony. As a Buddhist, I always believe, the almighty will always reward the righteous and messengers of truths. Redemption time awaits the lucified fake believers. Perpetual grievances seekers always fantasized attacks and are always angered with perceived injustices and oppressions. What doesn't ? When the minds are one tracked, believe me, the only destination is HELL. Blame not others for your unreasonableness.

For the peace loving and true believer of GOD ( I mean GOD, spelt as G.O.D and not reversed ), it is your religious duty now to exercise greater patient and pray for those who refuse to understand or are incapable to understand. It is also our duty to GOD to have the courage to reject extremities. May God with his almighty grace bless all of us with good health and the courage to stop unreasonable hijacking of faiths and religions to politically achieve perverted cultist pleasures.

I happened to believe in non violent propagation of justice, peace, and brotherhood. I am stating to all demented perverts again that PEACE and Truth does not need to be defended with VIOLENCES. Violence begets more violences. At the end of the day, instigators of violences shall be burnt in hell and forever romp in desperations with no resting place. Enough is enough, we have enough of faeces and farting noises from the Excremists.

I am not a Christian. But the controversy created has made me to research for truth, and I am now slightly better understand Christianity. Thank you God for presenting the opportunity to me to have better understanding of other religion.

Buddhism does not believe in compulsion and falsehood. When the time comes, those not fated to be a buddhist shall exit the door of buddhism, those fated to be a buddhist shall enter the door of Buddhism at his own free wills.

May you find peace, be at peace with yourself, and bring peace to your surrounding. Om mani padme hum. Om Namo Amithaba Buddha.

( *** Full text of of Pope's speech & Apology in Comment section*** )

7 comments:

BlackCoffee said...

Date: 2006-09-12
Papal Address at University of Regensburg
"Three Stages in the Program of De-Hellenization"

REGENSBURG, Germany, SEPT. 12, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered to scientists at the University of Regensburg, where he was a professor and vice rector from 1969 to 1971. This is the version the Pope read, adding some allusions of the moment, which he hopes to publish in the future, complete with footnotes. Hence, the present text must be considered provisional. * * *

Faith, Reason and the University Memories and Reflections

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a moving experience for me to stand and give a lecture at this university podium once again. I think back to those years when, after a pleasant period at the Freisinger Hochschule, I began teaching at the University of Bonn. This was in 1959, in the days of the old university made up of ordinary professors. The various chairs had neither assistants nor secretaries, but in recompense there was much direct contact with students and in particular among the professors themselves. We would meet before and after lessons in the rooms of the teaching staff. There was a lively exchange with historians, philosophers, philologists and, naturally, between the two theological faculties. Once a semester there was a "dies academicus," when professors from every faculty appeared before the students of the entire university, making possible a genuine experience of "universitas": The reality that despite our specializations which at times make it difficult to communicate with each other, we made up a whole, working in everything on the basis of a single rationality with its various aspects and sharing responsibility for the right use of reason -- this reality became a lived experience. The university was also very proud of its two theological faculties. It was clear that, by inquiring about the reasonableness of faith, they too carried out a work which is necessarily part of the "whole" of the "universitas scientiarum," even if not everyone could share the faith which theologians seek to correlate with reason as a whole. This profound sense of coherence within the universe of reason was not troubled, even when it was once reported that a colleague had said there was something odd about our university: It had two faculties devoted to something that did not exist: God. That even in the face of such radical skepticism it is still necessary and reasonable 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 as a whole, was accepted without question. I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by professor Theodore Khoury (Muenster) of part of the dialogue carried on -- perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara -- by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was probably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than the responses of the learned Persian. The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Koran, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship of the "three Laws": the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran. In this lecture I would like to discuss only one point -- itself rather marginal to the dialogue itself -- which, in the context of the issue of "faith and reason," I found interesting and which can serve as the starting point for my reflections on this issue. In the seventh conversation ("diálesis" -- controversy) edited by professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that sura 2:256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion." It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under [threat]. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Koran, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels," he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words: "Show me just what Mohammed 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." The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably ("syn logo") is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats.... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...." The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: Not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practice idolatry. As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: "In the beginning was the 'logos.'" This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts with logos. Logos means both reason and word -- a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist. The encounter between the biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. The vision of St. Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: "Come over to Macedonia and help us!" (cf. Acts 16:6-10) -- this vision can be interpreted as a "distillation" of the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between biblical faith and Greek inquiry. In point of fact, this rapprochement had been going on for some time. The mysterious name of God, revealed from the burning bush, a name which separates this God from all other divinities with their many names and declares simply that he is, already presents a challenge to the notion of myth, to which Socrates' attempt to vanquish and transcend myth stands in close analogy. Within the Old Testament, the process which started at the burning bush came to new maturity at the time of the Exile, when the God of Israel, an Israel now deprived of its land and worship, was proclaimed as the God of heaven and earth and described in a simple formula which echoes the words uttered at the burning bush: "I am." This new understanding of God is accompanied by a kind of enlightenment, which finds stark expression in the mockery of gods who are merely the work of human hands (cf. Psalm 115). Thus, despite the bitter conflict with those Hellenistic rulers who sought to accommodate it forcibly to the customs and idolatrous cult of the Greeks, biblical faith, in the Hellenistic period, encountered the best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual enrichment evident especially in the later wisdom literature. Today we know that the Greek translation of the Old Testament produced at Alexandria -- the Septuagint -- is more than a simple (and in that sense perhaps less than satisfactory) translation of the Hebrew text: It is an independent textual witness and a distinct and important step in the history of Revelation, one which brought about this encounter in a way that was decisive for the birth and spread of Christianity. A profound encounter of faith and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine enlightenment and religion. From the very heart of Christian faith and, at the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to faith, Manuel II was able to say: Not to act "with logos" is contrary to God's nature. In all honesty, one must observe that in the late Middle Ages we find trends in theology which would sunder this synthesis between the Greek spirit and the Christian spirit. In contrast with the so-called intellectualism of Augustine and Thomas, there arose with Duns Scotus a voluntarism which ultimately led to the claim that we can only know God's "voluntas ordinata." Beyond this is the realm of God's freedom, in virtue of which he could have done the opposite of everything he has actually done. This gives rise to positions which clearly approach those of Ibn Hazn and might even lead to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to truth and goodness. God's transcendence and otherness are so exalted that our reason, our sense of the true and good, are no longer an authentic mirror of God, whose deepest possibilities remain eternally unattainable and hidden behind his actual decisions. As opposed to this, the faith of the Church has always insisted that between God and us, between his eternal Creator Spirit and our created reason there exists a real analogy, in which unlikeness remains infinitely greater than likeness, yet not to the point of abolishing analogy and its language (cf. Lateran IV). God does not become more divine when we push him away from us in a sheer, impenetrable voluntarism; rather, the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love "transcends" knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Ephesians 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is logos. Consequently, Christian worship is "logic latreía" -- worship in harmony with the eternal Word and with our reason (cf. Romans 12:1). This inner rapprochement between biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that of world history -- it is an event which concerns us even today. Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant developments in the East, finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe. We can also express this the other way around: This convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe. The thesis that the critically purified Greek heritage forms an integral part of Christian faith has been countered by the call for a de-Hellenization of Christianity -- a call which has more and more dominated theological discussions since the beginning of the modern age. Viewed more closely, three stages can be observed in the program of de-Hellenization: Although interconnected, they are clearly distinct from one another in their motivations and objectives. De-Hellenization first emerges in connection with the fundamental postulates of the Reformation in the 16th century. Looking at the tradition of scholastic theology, the Reformers thought they were confronted with a faith system totally conditioned by philosophy, that is to say an articulation of the faith based on an alien system of thought. As a result, faith no longer appeared as a living historical Word but as one element of an overarching philosophical system. The principle of "sola scriptura," on the other hand, sought faith in its pure, primordial form, as originally found in the biblical Word. Metaphysics appeared as a premise derived from another source, from which faith had to be liberated in order to become once more fully itself. When Kant stated that he needed to set thinking aside in order to make room for faith, he carried this program forward with a radicalism that the Reformers could never have foreseen. He thus anchored faith exclusively in practical reason, denying it access to reality as a whole. The liberal theology of the 19th and 20th centuries ushered in a second stage in the process of de-Hellenization, with Adolf von Harnack as its outstanding representative. When I was a student, and in the early years of my teaching, this program was highly influential in Catholic theology too. It took as its point of departure Pascal's distinction between the God of the philosophers and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In my inaugural lecture at Bonn in 1959, I tried to address the issue. I will not repeat here what I said on that occasion, but I would like to describe at least briefly what was new about this second stage of de-Hellenization. Harnack's central idea was to return simply to the man Jesus and to his simple message, underneath the accretions of theology and indeed of Hellenization: This simple message was seen as the culmination of the religious development of humanity. Jesus was said to have put an end to worship in favor of morality. In the end he was presented as the father of a humanitarian moral message. The fundamental goal was to bring Christianity back into harmony with modern reason, liberating it, that is to say, from seemingly philosophical and theological elements, such as faith in Christ's divinity and the triune God. In this sense, historical-critical exegesis of the New Testament restored to theology its place within the university: Theology, for Harnack, is something essentially historical and therefore strictly scientific. What it is able to say critically about Jesus is, so to speak, an expression of practical reason and consequently it can take its rightful place within the university. Behind this thinking lies the modern self-limitation of reason, classically expressed in Kant's "Critiques," but in the meantime further radicalized by the impact of the natural sciences. This modern concept of reason is based, to put it briefly, on a synthesis between Platonism (Cartesianism) and empiricism, a synthesis confirmed by the success of technology. On the one hand it presupposes the mathematical structure of matter, its intrinsic rationality, which makes it possible to understand how matter works and use it efficiently: This basic premise is, so to speak, the Platonic element in the modern understanding of nature. On the other hand, there is nature's capacity to be exploited for our purposes, and here only the possibility of verification or falsification through experimentation can yield ultimate certainty. The weight between the two poles can, depending on the circumstances, shift from one side to the other. As strongly positivistic a thinker as J. Monod has declared himself a convinced Platonist/Cartesian. This gives rise to two principles which are crucial for the issue we have raised. First, only the kind of certainty resulting from the interplay of mathematical and empirical elements can be considered scientific. Anything that would claim to be science must be measured against this criterion. Hence the human sciences, such as history, psychology, sociology and philosophy, attempt to conform themselves to this canon of scientificity. A second point, which is important for our reflections, is that by its very nature this method excludes the question of God, making it appear an unscientific or pre-scientific question. Consequently, we are faced with a reduction of the radius of science and reason, one which needs to be questioned. We shall return to this problem later. In the meantime, it must be observed that from this standpoint any attempt to maintain theology's claim to be "scientific" would end up reducing Christianity to a mere fragment of its former self. But we must say more: It is man himself who ends up being reduced, for the specifically human questions about our origin and destiny, the questions raised by religion and ethics, then have no place within the purview of collective reason as defined by "science" and must thus be relegated to the realm of the subjective. The subject then decides, on the basis of his experiences, what he considers tenable in matters of religion, and the subjective "conscience" becomes the sole arbiter of what is ethical. In this way, though, ethics and religion lose their power to create a community and become a completely personal matter. This is a dangerous state of affairs for humanity, as we see from the disturbing pathologies of religion and reason which necessarily erupt when reason is so reduced that questions of religion and ethics no longer concern it. Attempts to construct an ethic from the rules of evolution or from psychology and sociology, end up being simply inadequate. Before I draw the conclusions to which all this has been leading, I must briefly refer to the third stage of de-Hellenization, which is now in progress. In the light of our experience with cultural pluralism, it is often said nowadays that the synthesis with Hellenism achieved in the early Church was a preliminary inculturation which ought not to be binding on other cultures. The latter are said to have the right to return to the simple message of the New Testament prior to that inculturation, in order to inculturate it anew in their own particular milieux. This thesis is not only false; it is coarse and lacking in precision. The New Testament was written in Greek and bears the imprint of the Greek spirit, which had already come to maturity as the Old Testament developed. True, there are elements in the evolution of the early Church which do not have to be integrated into all cultures. Nonetheless, the fundamental decisions made about the relationship between faith and the use of human reason are part of the faith itself; they are developments consonant with the nature of faith itself. And so I come to my conclusion. This attempt, painted with broad strokes, at a critique of modern reason from within has nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age. The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly: We are all grateful for the marvelous possibilities that it has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been granted to us. The scientific ethos, moreover, is the will to be obedient to the truth, and, as such, it embodies an attitude which reflects one of the basic tenets of Christianity. The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening our concept of reason and its application. While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them. We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. In this sense theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith. Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today. In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world's profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures. At the same time, as I have attempted to show, modern scientific reason with its intrinsically Platonic element bears within itself a question which points beyond itself and beyond the possibilities of its methodology. Modern scientific reason quite simply has to accept the rational structure of matter and the correspondence between our spirit and the prevailing rational structures of nature as a given, on which its methodology has to be based. Yet the question why this has to be so is a real question, and one which has to be remanded by the natural sciences to other modes and planes of thought -- to philosophy and theology. For philosophy and, albeit in a different way, for theology, listening to the great experiences and insights of the religious traditions of humanity, and those of the Christian faith in particular, is a source of knowledge, and to ignore it would be an unacceptable restriction of our listening and responding. Here I am reminded of something Socrates said to Phaedo. In their earlier conversations, many false philosophical opinions had been raised, and so Socrates says: "It would be easily understandable if someone became so annoyed at all these false notions that for the rest of his life he despised and mocked all talk about being -- but in this way he would be deprived of the truth of existence and would suffer a great loss." The West has long been endangered by this aversion to the questions which underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby. The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur -- this is the program with which a theology grounded in biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. "Not to act reasonably (with logos) is contrary to the nature of God," said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university. [Translation of German original issued by the Holy See; adapted] © Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

BlackCoffee said...

Date: 2006-09-17

Apology to Muslims

"An Invitation to Frank and Sincere Dialogue"

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 17, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before reciting the midday Angelus with crowds at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The pastoral visit which I recently made to Bavaria was a deep spiritual experience, bringing together personal memories linked to places well known to me and pastoral initiatives toward an effective proclamation of the Gospel for today.

I thank God for the interior joy which he made possible, and I am also grateful to all those who worked hard for the success of this pastoral visit. As is the custom, I will speak more of this during next Wednesday's general audience.

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.

These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought.

Yesterday, the cardinal secretary of state published a statement in this regard in which he explained the true meaning of my words. I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect.

[Translation issued by the Holy See]

Now, before reciting the Marian prayer, I wish to reflect on two recent and important liturgical feasts: the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated on Sept. 14, and the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, celebrated the day after. These two liturgical celebrations summarize in a visual manner the image of the Crucifixion, which represents the Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross, according to the description of the Evangelist John, the only Apostle who stayed with Jesus at the hour of his death.

But, what does it mean to "exalt" the Cross? Is it not, perhaps, scandalous to venerate an offensive gibbet? The Apostle Paul says: "We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles" (1 Corinthians 1:23). Christians, however, do not exalt any cross, but that cross which Jesus sanctified with his sacrifice, fruit and testimony of immense love.

Christ, on the cross, shed all his blood to free humanity from the slavery of sin and death. For this reason, the cross was transformed from a sign of malediction to a sign of blessing, from a symbol of death to a symbol par excellence of the love that is able to overcome hatred and violence and that generates immortal life. "O Crux, ave spes unica! O cross, our only hope," sings the liturgy.

The evangelist writes: At the foot of the Cross was Mary (cf. John 19:25-27). Her sorrow is one with that of her son. It is a sorrow full of faith and love. On Calvary the Virgin participated in the salvific power of Christ's sorrow, uniting her "fiat" with that of her son.

Dear brothers and sisters: Spiritually united to Our Lady of Sorrows, let us also renew our "yes" to God, who chose the way of the cross to save us. It is a great mystery which still takes place until the end of the world and that also calls for our cooperation. May Mary help us to pick up our cross every day and to follow Jesus faithfully on the path of obedience, sacrifice and love.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[After praying the Angelus the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today's Angelus, and I thank you for your prayers during my pastoral visit to Bavaria. May your stay here in Castel Gandolfo and Rome be a time of spiritual enrichment, marked by the readiness to take up the cross and follow Jesus. Upon you and your loved ones, I invoke the grace and peace of Christ the Lord!

© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted]

BlackCoffee said...

Date: 2006-09-15

Vatican Statement on Pope's Words About Islam

"A Clear and Radical Rejection of the Religious Motivation for Violence"

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 15, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is the press statement released Thursday by Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi concerning the interpretation of certain passages of the Holy Father's address at the University of Regensburg.

* * *

Concerning the reaction of Muslim leaders to certain passages of the Holy Father's address at the University of Regensburg, it should be noted that what the Holy Father has at heart -- and which emerges from an attentive reading of the text -- is a clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation for violence.

It was certainly not the intention of the Holy Father to undertake a comprehensive study of the jihad and of Muslim ideas on the subject, still less to offend the sensibilities of Muslim faithful.

Quite the contrary, what emerges clearly from the Holy Father's discourses is a warning, addressed to Western culture, to avoid "the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom" (homily, Sept. 10). A just consideration of the religious dimension is, in fact, an essential premise for fruitful dialogue with the great cultures and religions of the world.

And indeed, in concluding his address in Regensburg, Benedict XVI affirmed how "the world's profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion to the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures."

What is clear then, is the Holy Father's desire to cultivate an attitude of respect and dialogue toward other religions and cultures, including, of course, Islam.

[Original text: Italian; translation issued by the Holy See]

BlackCoffee said...

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor's Statement on Islam

"A Radical Rejection of Any Religious Motivation for Violence"

LONDON, SEPT. 17, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is the statement that Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster, has asked to be read at all Masses in his diocese Sept. 16-17.

* * *

Benedict XVI, in a lecture widely reported, was essentially appealing for a dialogue of cultures based on faith and reason. It is quite clear to me that Benedict XVI has no intention of offending the sensibilities of our Muslim brothers and sisters. The Holy Father himself has expressed his sorrow if any passage in his speech sounded offensive to Muslim believers. What clearly emerges from his lecture is a radical rejection of any religious motivation for violence.

For our part we will continue to develop good relations with the Muslim community in our country based on mutual respect and a common desire for justice and peace in our world. I myself will be standing alongside Muslim and Jewish leaders outside Downing Street this Sunday in a common witness to urge governments to do everything in their power to avert further death and destruction in Darfur in the Sudan . Please remember this intention in your prayers. Also pray for our fruitful interreligious dialogue and cooperation in the future.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor
Archbishop of Westminster

BlackCoffee said...

Cardinal Bertone on Islamic Reaction to Pope's Address

"The Church Regards With Esteem Also the Muslims"

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 17, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the statement released Saturday by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, on the Islamic reaction to the discourse Benedict XVI gave Tuesday at the University of Regensburg.

* * *

Given the reaction in Muslim quarters to certain passages of the Holy Father's address at the University of Regensburg, and the clarifications and explanations already presented through the director of the Holy See press office, I would like to add the following:

-- The position of the Pope concerning Islam is unequivocally that expressed by the conciliar document "Nostra Aetate": "The Church regards with esteem also the Muslims. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even his inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God.

"Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, his virgin mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting" (no. 3).

-- The Pope's option in favor of interreligious and intercultural dialogue is equally unequivocal. In his meeting with representatives of Muslim communities in Cologne, Germany, on Aug. 20, 2005, he said that such dialogue between Christians and Muslims "cannot be reduced to an optional extra," adding: "The lessons of the past must help us to avoid repeating the same mistakes. We must seek paths of reconciliation and learn to live with respect for each other's identity."

-- As for the opinion of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus which he quoted during his Regensburg talk, the Holy Father did not mean, nor does he mean, to make that opinion his own in any way. He simply used it as a means to undertake -- in an academic context, and as is evident from a complete and attentive reading of the text -- certain reflections on the theme of the relationship between religion and violence in general, and to conclude with a clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation for violence, from whatever side it may come.

On this point, it is worth recalling what Benedict XVI himself recently affirmed in his commemorative message for the 20th anniversary of the Interreligious Meeting of Prayer for Peace, initiated by his predecessor John Paul II at Assisi in October 1986: " ... demonstrations of violence cannot be attributed to religion as such but to the cultural limitations with which it is lived and develops in time. ... In fact, attestations of the close bond that exists between the relationship with God and the ethics of love are recorded in all great religious traditions."

-- The Holy Father 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. 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."

-- In reiterating his respect and esteem for those who profess Islam, he hopes they will be helped to understand the correct meaning of his words so that, quickly surmounting this present uneasy moment, witness to the "Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men" may be reinforced, and collaboration may intensify "to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom" ("Nostra Aetate," no. 3).

[Original text: Italian translation issued by the Holy See]

BlackCoffee said...

Archbishop of Yangon Defends Pope

Said Violence and Islam Cannot Co-exist

YANGON, Myanmar, SEPT. 17, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Religion cannot justify violence is the message Benedict XVI communicated in his comments on Islam during his trip to Bavaria, says the archbishop of Yangon.

Archbishop Charles Bo of Yangon said in comments to ZENIT that he is "sad to hear the misunderstandings of our brother Muslims" regarding the statements the Holy Father made Tuesday at the University of Regensburg.

The archbishop continued: "Benedict XVI was making a very clear statement, that violence is not compatible with the nature of God. Violence and killing is contrary to the nature of God.

"He was very clear that God is love and love ensures and brings forth life. God is life-giving. That is the fundamental reason why such a respected and highly-acclaimed theologian like the Pope gave such a clear message in his first encyclical 'Deus Caritas Est.'"

"The Pope was speaking in a university, where he chose to repeat that the religious dimension is necessary for all men, and that faith is fundamental to experience fullness of life," Archbishop Bo said.

"The coldness of rationality often yields to a desacralized life -- this is what he was trying to say," he said.

"In this the Pope has fully expressed the sentiment and desire of millions of Muslims who in one way or another, say: 'Violence and Islam cannot be related,'" he added.

The archbishop said that Benedict XVI "said that many Muslims say: 'We are Muslims and we want to be Muslim believers in today's world and against those who use religion to strike at others with violence. Religion cannot be the foundation of a conflict, a war, or any other kind of violence.'"

Some 4% of the population of Myanmar, a country of 47 million inhabitants, is Muslim, the majority being Buddhist.

Asia News said...

Beirut (AsiaNews) – “Let us first read what the Pope actually said,” urged Ali el-Amin, Shia mufti of Tyre. Such a view of the controversy that surrounds Benedict XVI’s Regensburg speech reflects the prevailing attitude in multi-faith Lebanon. Even Hezbollah has limited itself so far to express surprise for remarks that “are contrary to the reality of the Muslim religion”, whereas the deputy chairman of the Higher Shia Islamic Council has called for dialogue and the rejection of violence.

In Christian quarters, reactions in the Muslim world are seen as politically motivated. For Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir the Pope’s remarks have been misunderstood. “The motivations behind the criticism are political,” he said. Benedict XVI “did not directly talk about Islam. “Christians and Muslims have an interest of working together, especially in Lebanon”.

In his Sunday’s homily, Cardinal Sfeir reiterated remarks made a Vatican spokesman according to which the Pope did not express his opinion on Islam, which was not an issue in his address. Instead, the Holy Father respects Islam and rejects religious motivations of violence.

The Patriarch also mentioned that in the conciliar document Nostra Aetate, the Church held Muslims in “esteem” for they “adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, Who has spoken to men.”

From the same document, he said: “Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.”

“It was an affront to the Pope for some Muslim religious dignitaries and political leaders to ask him to apologise,” said Mgr Béchara Rai, bishop of Jbeilm.

In an interview with the Voix du Liban, the bishop emphasised the need to read the Pope’s statements before making false interpretations.

“Under normal circumstances, when you have a problem, you go back to the text,” he said. “That is what I did. I read the lecture the Pope gave to a German Theology Faculty on the relationship between faith and reason. It’s deplorable that so many people reacted without having read the text. This no longer belongs to the realm of reason, but to that emotion.”

Bishop Rai added that he hoped Muslim religious leaders “would read the conference [paper] and express their opinion about the issues raised by the Pope.”

Sheikh Abdel Amir Kabalan, deputy chairman of the Higher Shia Islamic Council, also urged people to engage in dialogue and reject violence. He expressed “respect for everyone, those who retracted, those who deplored and those who apologised for the accusation made against them.”

In a final appeal to reject violence, Mufti Ali el-Amin called on people to read what the Pope said with “calm and serenity”, and avoid “impulsive and irrational reactions as well as street language.”