September 19, 2006


A Challenge, Not a Crusade (JOHN L. ALLEN Jr., 9/19/06, NY Times)

The new pope is tougher both on terrorism and on what the Vatican calls “reciprocity” — the demand that Islamic states grant the same rights and freedoms to Christians and other religious minorities that Muslims receive in the West. When Benedict said in his apology on Sunday that he wants a “frank and sincere dialogue,” the word “frank” was not an accident. He wants dialogue with teeth.

Roman Catholicism under Benedict is moving into a more critical posture toward Islamic fundamentalism. That could either push Islam toward reform, or set off a global “clash of civilizations” — or, perhaps, both.

Either eventuality is satisfactory, but one is preferable. The alternative, that Islam not change, is a non-starter. Given which, it's hardly surprising that Muslims would be disconcerted. It would be helpful, though politically incorrect, for the Pope to acknowledge that what he's (we're) doing could indeed foment a clash and that Christianity is okay with that.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 19, 2006 11:50 AM
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