Catholic World News News Feature
Islam not condemned in papal speech, Vatican spokesman says September 13, 2006
The director of the Vatican press office has urged reporters to notice that a lecture delivered by Pope Benedict XVI on September 12, at the University of Regensburg, was not an attack on Islam.
There are "many different positions" within the Islamic world, observed Father Federico Lombardi, including support for non-violence. When he argued that violence contradicts religious faith, the Vatican spokesman said, the Pontiff was not issuing a blanket condemnation of Muslim beliefs.
The more important message of the Pope's address, Father Lombardi continued, was the plea for an end to the split between faith and reason. He suggested that the Pope was tracing the same arguments put forward by Pope John Paul II in his 1998 encyclical Fides et Ratio, in opposing "the marginalization of faith by modern rationalism."
That same message, Father Lombardi continued, was evident in the Pope's address earlier on Tuesday, during a homily at Mass in Regensburg, when he underlined the "reasonable character of belief." The Pope, he said, was making a "clear and linear" exposition of the Christian understanding of God.
In the speech at the University of Regensburg, the Vatican spokesman said, the Pope "did not want to give a lecture interpreting Islam in a violent sense, but affirming that when there is a violent interpretation of religion, we see a contradiction with God's nature." In discussing the concept of jihad, he said, the Pope was using a rational analysis to criticize the use of faith to incite violence.