+Papal Bombshell+

Steven Laib stevenlaib at SBCGLOBAL.NET
Mon Jan 23 20:07:51 MST 2006


No one wants to touch it because they are afraid of being called racist 
or jingoistic, or worse yet, anti-islamic.

Heck, I'm one guy who suggested that the proper response on 9/12/01 
would have been to nuke Mecca.

Steve Laib

On Jan 23, 2006, at 11:25 AM, John wrote:

> The pope's unexploded bombshell
>
> Jan 23, 2006
> by Diana West ( bio )
>
> Townhall.com
>
> Remember when word came down from the Vatican that Pope John Paul II 
> had watched Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" and liked it? The 
> anonymously sourced story sparked a media firestorm around the globe 
> as reporters sought confirmation of the papal equivalent of two thumbs 
> up. "It is as it was," we later learned the pope supposedly said. 
> Which sounded like the perfect biblical movie blurb; but did the 
> pontiff actually utter the words?
>
> After some non-clarifying retractions from the Vatican, it was 
> ultimately hard to say for sure -- although not for journalistic want 
> of trying. This natural curiosity stands in striking contrast to the 
> media silence that has met a far more sensational, far more 
> significant report of papal opinion: namely, that Pope Benedict XVI is 
> said to believe that Islam is incapable of reform.
>
> This bombshell dropped out of an early January interview conducted by 
> radio host Hugh Hewitt with the Rev. Joseph D. Fessio, SJ, a friend 
> and former student of the pope. The Rev. Fessio recounted the pope's 
> words on the key problem facing Islamic reform this way: "In the 
> Islamic tradition, God has given His word to Muhammad, but it's an 
> eternal word. It's not Muhammad's word. It's there for eternity the 
> way it is. There's no possibility of adapting it or interpreting it." 
> Fessio continued, elaborating not on how many ratings stars the pope 
> thinks some biopic should get, but rather on the pope's theological 
> assessment of a historically warring religion with a billion-plus 
> followers, some notorious number of whom are now at war with the West. 
> According to his friend, the pope believes there's no way to change 
> Islam because there's no way to reinterpret the Koran -- i.e., change 
> Koranic teachings on infidels, women, polygamy, penal codes and other 
> markers of Islamic law -- in such a way as to propel Islam into happy 
> coexistence with modernity.
>
> As I said, a bombshell. But this is one bombshell that has yet to 
> explode because no one wants to touch it. Hugh Hewitt posted the 
> extraordinary interview online, a couple of blogs picked it up, and 
> Middle East expert Daniel Pipes wrote a short piece taking exception 
> to it, but, as the Asia Times Online columnist Spengler noted (in a 
> column called "When even the pope has to whisper"), "not a single 
> media outlet has taken notice." Posting the Spengler column at The 
> Corner at National Review Online, Rod Dreher wrote: "Spengler is 
> amazed by the silence from the Western media over this remarkable 
> statement attributed to the current pope ... and he suggests that we 
> shrink from acknowledging it because the consequences of the pope 
> being right about this are too horrible to contemplate." Indeed, with 
> one exception, NRO Corner regulars failed to comment on the pope's 
> putative words -- noteworthy, given the magazine's tradition of a 
> Catholic identity.
>
> Is facing up to the pope's notion of unreformable Islam really too 
> horrible to contemplate? Sounds to me like the fabled abyss. By 
> coincidence, a senior officer in Iraq with whom I've been 
> corresponding made a similar point in explaining why he hoped for 
> Islamic reform: basically, because without the hope of such reform, 
> there is no hope of such reform -- which, I assume, leads to those 
> horrible consequences mentioned above, beginning, well, with 
> hopelessness.
>
> But despair masked in the wishful silence of studied neglect is the 
> wrong response. That is, if the pope is right and Islam is not 
> reformable along the lines of a Western model, it's not a Western 
> problem -- meaning a problem the West is responsible for fixing. It is 
> perhaps the ultimate Western chauvinism that even considering the 
> failed overhaul of Islam, being beyond Muslim doctrine and beyond our 
> own capabilities, should plunge us -- infidels, non-Muslims, 
> Jeffersonian deists, whatever -- into the abyss. With apologies to 
> Pygmalion via Lerner and Lowe, the question shouldn't be: "Why Can't 
> Islam Be More Like the West?" It should be: "How can the West prevent 
> itself from becoming more like Islam?"
>
> One obvious answer is an immigration policy aimed at preventing the 
> kind of Islamic demographic shifts we already see transforming Europe 
> -- although our policy makers, Republican and Democrat alike, aren't 
> even asking the question. Maybe they, like my military pen pal, prefer 
> to hope for the Islamic reform the pope is said to have ruled out. 
> Hope may well spring eternal and all that, but it's not the stuff on 
> which military strategy or national destiny should hang.
>
> --------------------------------
>
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