Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mea without the Culpa

After some infelicitous words about Mohammed's teachings and their broader implications on the essence of Islam, namely that they resulted in “evil” and “inhuman” things, the Pope is backtracking. Sort of:

“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”

Right. Obviously the emphasis is mine. The Pope’s non-apology turns on rhetorically self-protecting phrases like being deeply sorry “for the reactions”, but not for the actual remarks which, of course, he had the right, and good sense, not to make. Also, that he thinks his remarks “were considered offensive” regardless of whether or not “he” considered them offensive (where he remains silent) elides responsibility again. Although, if he truly believed they were offensive it’s unlikely he would've made them in the first place.

But in the Pope’s defense, the remarks he made where quoted from a medieval text, from which he took the caution to explicitly attribute (“and I quote” etc.) And yet that seems to confound the Pope's conduct, since it must have been clearly obvious to him the incendiary nature of his remarks and the likely response.

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