Famously, the then Cardinal Ratzinger once referred to Buddhism as a form of masturbation for the mind - a remark still repeated among deeply offended Buddhists more than a decade after he said it. Even his apology to Muslims at the weekend managed to bring Jews into the row.
No, the reaction of Muslims to The Pope shows us that this Pope is far from Infallible compared to his predecessor Pope John Paul.
I in no way condone the response of Muslim fanatics and hotheads - burning churches, and murdering Nuns. They just bring shame and discredit on their faith and themselves. Ironically - although it is lost on these fanatic hotheads - through their actions they help to reinforce stereotypes about the very thing they have taken offence at - namely saying that Islam is a violent and intolerant religion.
I understand the quote was taken out of context in Pope Benedict's speech. But never the less, I think it is shocking that a man who is the Spiritual head of a community of over 1 Billion souls, chose this clearly inflammatory passage, when he could have chosen something far more conciliatory, constructive and uncontroversial to make the same point about faith and reason, and the incompatibility of violence and religion without giving any excuse that he had insulted Islam. Something from the Bible for example.
I am sure Pope Benedict, a supposedly learned scholar - whose previous job until last year was in charge of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (the successor body to the Inquisition) when he was then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - knew the quote was from a bogus "debate".
A man of Pope Benedict's experience must have known this quote was inflamatory when he chose to include it, and that one of the consequences would be to fuel a violent Muslim reaction. Any fool could have told him the same. Pope Benedict had the hindsight of the experience of the Danish Cartoons episode. I can only conclude he has been wilfully mischievous.
Pope Benedict has also now insulted the Jews, it has been reported. In another speech shortly after his infamous Regensburg Rally, he said "Christians worshipped the cross because of the folly of the Jews and ignorance of Pagans and Gentiles." In an address of March 16, 2006, Pope Benedict said Jews must Convert to Christianity in order to be Saved.
From The Guardian: "Even worse, in his Auschwitz address, he managed to argue in a long theological exposition that the real victims of the Holocaust were God and Christianity. As one commentator put it, he managed to claim that Jews were "themselves bit players - bystanders at their own extermination. The true victim was a metaphysical one." This theological treatise bears the same characteristics as last week's Regensburg lecture; put at its most charitable, they are too clever by half."
But don't worry Jews can take it. I promise you we will not burn down any churches or murder any nuns.
The Guardian says "In the perceived clash between the West and the Muslim world - the Pope seems to have abdicated his papal role of arbitrator, and taken up arms in a rerun of a medieval fantasy."
"An elderly Catholic nun has already been killed in Somalia, in retaliation for the Pope's remarks; churches have been attacked in the West Bank. How is this papal stupidity going to play out in countries such as Nigeria, where the tensions between Catholics and Muslims frequently flare into riots and death? Or other countries such as Pakistan, where Catholic communities are already beleaguered? Or the Muslim minorities in Catholic countries such as the Philippines - how comfortable do they feel this week?"
"Two lines of thought emerge from this mess. The first is that the Pope's personal authority has been irrevocably damaged; how now could he ever present himself as a figure of global moral authority and a peacemaker after this?"
"The second is a more disturbing possibility: namely, that the Catholic church could be failing - yet again - to deal with the challenge of modernity."
For a Spiritual leader, Pope Benedict appears to have intellectual knowledge without spiritual substance and wisdom. He has been irresponsible and insensitive, and looked foolish especially when people are killed as a result of his thoughtless actions and decisions. Not Infallible to me.
Pope John Paul tried to build bridges between faiths and peoples.
Pope Benedict, however, seems intent on burning them. Hasn't the world got enough hatred and troubles without further enflaming the fires in these violent times.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/pope/story/0,,... Pope Benedict XVI: A man with little sympathy for other faiths manages to insult three major world faiths - Buddhism, Islam and Judaism within a few months.
http://www.catholicintl.com/catholicissu... Pope Benedict XVI Says Jews Must Convert to Christianity in order to be Saved
http://www.inquisitionproductions.com/ Secret Files of The Inquisition about Rome's Reign of Terror around the World on History Channel and UKTV History
http://www.visiontv.ca/Programs/documentaries_Inquisition.html Secret Files of The Inquisition
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/01/30/ninq30.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/01/30/ixhome.html Inquisition was a Mistake but Legally Justified, claims Vatican
http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,5386813-110881,00.html Vatican on the defensive after archive revelations. Torture and executions 'reflect standards of past'