N.Y. Times Still Lecturing Pope
The New York Times editorial board goes back to lecturing Pope Benedict today in an editorial titled "The Pope's Act of Contrition." They suggest that both Catholics and Muslims should move "forward in a conciliatory spirit" beyond the Pope's "ill-considered comments." It concluded huffily:
As his unfortunate comments show, the pope needs high-level experts on Islam to help guide him. In offering his regrets, the pope said that in its totality, his speech was intended as “an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect.” In living up to that, he and other top Vatican officials will have to accept that genuine communication cannot occur on their terms only.
At NRO Media Blog, Nathan Goulding cracked: "My question, though, is this: Exactly what part of burning the Pope in effigy constitutes genuine communication?" One wishes the New York Times had pondered the view of the pontiff's more admiring observers:
George Weigel, author of "God's Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church," said the pope expressed regret over the way his words have been twisted and misunderstood, but did not back away from them.
"The over-the-top reaction in the Muslim world simply underscores the truth of what he said at Regensburg, which is that unless Islam develops the capacity to be self-critical -- unless Islamic leaders take responsibility for saying to their extremists that violence in the name of God is wrong -- then there can be no genuine interreligious dialogue," Weigel said.
"There has been not the slightest backing off of that, and there can't be, because it's true," he added.
One problem for the media is that Islam has no centralized authority, no global headquarters for grievances against Muslim intolerance and violence. In one sense, the Catholic Church is punished by the media for having a centralized hierarchy with an obvious global leader. But even if the Muslims had one, the American media wouldn’t go there and ask about Islamic spokesmen to explain sentences like this one: "Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence."