I'd be proud of myself for waiting to read the Ratsinger's speech before forming an opinion if I hadn't had so much trouble keeping myself from thinking some decidely less than charitable thoughts about his speech after I read the convoluted mess.
No wonder Muslims are upset. Either Ratsinger or I do not speak English all that well, and personally, I am fairly certain my grasp on King's English (oh right, right, sorry) er, Queen's English is full on. Grammar-OK, ya got me. Comprehension-I am spot on.
OK, so I searched for the speech, found it, struggled with it, and came away thinking, "OK, maybe he didn't mean anything...maybe, mayb...Oh hell no, it was meant to be provocative, I really think that! So what was Ratsinger thinking-proving how easy it is to piss off the Muslims even more?"
Seriously. I'm sorry, I wanted to like the guy. But I have a predisposition against RC guys who strut out on the Papal balconey with a commanding and regal wave-come on, did the guy practice in front of a mirror for months before His Holiness the real Pope died? I laughed at the commentator's "Well, he is really only a fill-in pope, won't be here long..." as Ratsinger did his triumphant balconey appearrance, looking full on like a cat who was ready and able to be around for a very long time to come.
Oh Karol-verily thou art missed! Juan Pablo Segundo-te amo todo el mundo!
But Ratsinger-sorry, ain't MY pope.
Especially when it looks as though he was hoping to get off with an "Oops, all I did was quote an especially offensive passage against Islamic jihadis out of any understandable context, and then 'forget' that Constantinople hasn't been Constantinople for OVER 500 YEARS and ya know, it aint easy to remember to call it by it's heretic name Istanbul...my bad, did I say heretic? Hey, s'matter? No biggie-can't they take a 'dialogue'? Sheesh, those Muslims fly off the handle easy when jabbed, huh? Oh yeah, they can dish it out, but they sure can't take it!"
In the words of the great American philosopher Bugs Bunny, "Enh, watta maroon!"
Hey, don't take my word for it. Just try making any real sense of Ratsinger's piece.
Written for the masses? Then it was definitely intended to be provocative. It had to have been written with utter contempt for the so-called masses, and deliberately convoluted so as to be nearly uncomprehensible, leaving only the Constantinople, and the 14th century 'Christian's ' imflamatory remarks about the Prophet (may he walk in Paradise) right up front and center-and sure to really, really, really piss off some already pissed guys with the demonstrated willingness to commit mass horror in the name of the Prophet (may he walk in Paradise) and Allah.
Written for academics?
Where the hell is Ratsinger's PR guy?
"Er, Emminenza, this is better left unpublished-it is far too lofty for the ordinary man to comprehend. This may be one of the few times we might just want to, ah, well, um, supress the common man's access to the higher echelons of intellectual exchange, if you can try to understand, Emminenza, please..."
Ratsinger-not my pope. I'm pretty sure he isn't God's, either. I say that with convinction and not a little fear-the long arm (or should I say backhand) of the Vatican has Internet access and judging from pre John Paul II days, they don't hesitate to employ less than savory tactics against those considered heretics, excommunicates, or apostates. Even if said 'evil-doer' is just a displaced homemaker with the brains to recognize a naked empererer in a mitre.
JP II would NEVER have done this-when he upheld the Law, he did so in such a way as to open doors and hearts to true dialogue. He spoke to the man and woman barely making ends meet, but still trying to send their kid to Catholic school, still trying to hang on despite the abuses of children and the vulnerable being revealed. He spoke to the poor with their intellect dulled by hunger and disenfranchisement; His Holiness spoke to them, and they understood every word.
Truly it did not matter what language JP II's speech was being translated to or from, his words and spirit translated perfectly-hope, love, reconciliation. He spoke, and we all listened and found hope, love, and reconciliation.
Ratsinger's words translated (if not intended as provocation) badly-hate, hate, and more hate. And may indeed start the conflagration we of sounder and less rabid minds had really hoped to stop.
I read today that Ratsinger is being compared to other famous facists-no, really?