+Papal Bombshell+

John blueoval at 1SMARTISP.NET
Mon Jan 23 20:58:29 MST 2006

Couldn't agree more, Steve. Nicely put!

John Q.

On Mon Jan 23 19:07:51 PST 2006, Steven Laib 
<stevenlaib at SBCGLOBAL.NET> wrote:

> 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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