Islam a great religion, says Benedict in corrected Regensburg text

Recognising the "understandable indignation" aroused by his Regensburg lecture last month, Pope Benedict has released a corrected version in which he now explicitly acknowledges his respect for the Koran as the Holy Book of a "great religion".

The BBC reports that the Pope expresses his respect for Islam in new footnotes to his lecture and also corrects the actual text of his lecture.

In his lecture exploring the relationship between faith, reason and violence, the Pope had quoted a 14th Century Byzantine Christian emperor, Emperero Manuel II Paleologos who said the Prophet Mohammed had brought only "evil and inhuman" things.

The emperor's words Pope Benedict quoted were: "Show me just what Muhammad [sic] brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

During his original delivery, Benedict had said "I quote" twice to stress the words were not his and added that violence was "incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul".

However, this was not sufficient to prevent strong offence being taken in the Muslim world.

In the new version of his text, Pope Benedict makes it clearer that he finds the "brusqueness" of the emperor's words "unacceptable".

In the footnote, the Pontiff acknowledges that in the Muslim world the quotation was unfortunately taken as his personal view, arousing "understandable indignation".

In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, thus arousing understandable indignation," the Pope writes in the new footnote.

"I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Qur'an, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion. In quoting the text of the Emperor Manuel II, I intended solely to draw out the essential relationship between faith and reason. On this point I am in agreement with Manuel II, but without endorsing his polemic," the Pope added.

He also now qualifies Manuel's comments as being of "startling brusqueness" that we now "find unacceptable"

The Pope has already expressed his regret over the misunderstanding on several occasions.

Vatican 'clarifies' Pope speech (BBC News, 9/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Final Text Pope Benedict's Regensburg lecture Faith, Reason and the University, Memories and Reflections
Provisional Text, Lecture at the Meeting with Representatives of the Sciences, 12 September, 2006

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10 Oct 2006