Pope Struck a Cord With Muslims, Says Expert
Despite Some Harsh Reactions
ROME, SEPT. 15, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's words regarding Islam
with millions of Muslims worldwide who reject the justification of violence in the
name of religion, said an expert in Islam.
Father Justo Lacunza, until recently rector of the Pontifical Institute
of Arab and
Islamic Studies of Rome, explained today on Vatican Radio, why, nonetheless, certain
Muslim circles reacted harshly to the discourse the Pope gave Tuesday at the
University of Regensburg.
"In this the Pope has done no more than take up again the sentiment
and desire of
millions of Muslims who in one way or another, say: 'Violence and Islam cannot be
related,'" Father Lacunza said.
He said that many Muslims say: "We are Muslims and we want to be Muslim
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
The Muslim world reacted so violently to the words of the Pope, said
the priest, for
two reasons: "The first is that the Islamic world and Muslims are very sensitive to
those who speak of Islam, in particular, when they do not belong to the Muslim
"The second reason is that the Pontiff touched on a very, very delicate
is that of violence and war."
ZENIT News Agency, The World Seen from Rome
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
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
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
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
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
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
and dialogue toward other religions and cultures, including, of course, Islam.