Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pope Benedict

We received the following notice from the editors at Commonweal magazine:
Today, Pope Benedict XVI met with representatives from Muslim-majority countries that maintain diplomatic links with the Vatican "in order to strengthen the bonds of friendship and solidarity between the Holy See and Muslim communities throughout the world." Benedict said he hoped "to reiterate today all the esteem and the profound respect that I have for Muslim believers."

How did he get to this point? To help make sense of the pope's remarks on Islam and their aftermath, Commonweal presents an interview with Kevin Madigan, SJ, president of the Institute for the Study of Religions and Cultures at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, available only on our Web site.

Madigan tackles several important questions surrounding the controversy:

Can one make sweeping statements about Islam's views on violence and religious tolerance relying solely on the Qur'an?

Would it be correct to say that, as the pope does, God is absolutely transcendent for Muslims? What is the view of the Qur'an when it comes to natural theology and to reason?

Are the pope's comments indicative of a change in the Holy See's policy towards Islam. Do they indicate a more hard-line, reciprocity-based approach?

Will the damage be corrected by the clarifications issued by the Holy See and the personal apology of the pope?

You can read more here