Benedict does a Larry Summers

(I have modified the views expressed below in the subsequent blog entry.)

I’ve been saying for the last three days that as long as Pope Benedict kept issuing meaningless non-apology apologies to the Muslims (in the form of, “I’m very sorry you are upset, I didn’t intend to upset you”), while declining to retract his uncritical quotation of Manuel II Paleologos’s statement about Islam, this could represent the inauguration of a new stage of Western realism and strength in dealing with our age-old adversary. I also said that “[i]f the pope backs down and retracts the statement, it will be a disastrous surrender that will weaken us and further empower the Muslims.”

Sadly for the West, and the world, today the pope folded. In a story filed at 8:21 a.m. this morning, the New York Times reports that Pope Benedict has dissociated himself from Manuel II’s comment:

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (AP)—Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that he was ‘’deeply sorry’’ about the angry reaction to his recent remarks about Islam, which he said came from a text that didn’t reflect his personal opinion.

’’These (words) were in fact a quotation from a Medieval text which do not in any way express my personal thought,’’ Benedict told pilgrims at his summer palace outside Rome.

This leaves us with big questions about the pope’s judgment and reliability. If the quote did not express his personal thought, why did he not make that clear in his speech when he delivered it five days ago? And why did he not make it clear as soon as the inevitable Muslim protests began four days ago? Why arouse the fury of so many Muslims, and the hopes of so many Western patriots, only to appease the former, and betray the latter? The pope ends up looking like that most disgraceful of all figures, former Harvard president Lawrence Summers, who made what he had to know was the most politically incorrect of all statements about sex differences, and then ran away from it when he was attacked. As I said of Summers, I say to Benedict: If you weren’t going to stand by such a provocative statement, why did you make it in the first place? To make such a statement, and then retract it, is worse than never making it at all.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 17, 2006 10:31 AM | Send

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