Monday, September 18, 2006

Die Academicus

Pope Benedict XVI's comments on Islam and Mohammed

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The title of this cartoon is taken from the beginning of Pope Benedict XVI's speech before the University of Regensburg on September 12, his first visit to the university where he first taught in 1959-
We would meet before and after lessons in the rooms of the teaching staff. There was a lively exchange with historians, philosophers, philologists and, naturally, between the two theological faculties. Once a semester there was a dies academicus, when professors from every faculty appeared before the students of the entire university, making possible a genuine experience of universitas: the reality that despite our specializations which at times make it difficult to communicate with each other, we made up a whole, working in everything on the basis of a single rationality with its various aspects and sharing responsibility for the right use of reason-- this reality became a lived experience.
The Pope goes on to criticize the radical skepticism of the secular world which regularly dismisses the thought that the religious community can integrate both reason and faith into a coherent world view. The Pope explains that it's vital to a healthy world that faith not be denigrated to subculture status. Then, as any good lecturer would, he starts with a provocative point, as if to demonstrate that the sort of discussions which take place between Christian and Islamic scholars behind the walls of university can be a model for the entire world to follow. He directly and properly addresses the greatest threat to the well being of the world-Islamic Fascism. The thrust of his speech is that violence is not an expression of God, but the logos (the word, or original expression of God, as first expressed in Genesis) is. He includes an Islamic scholar in his references, and even goes so far as to refer to the Old Testament, New Testament and the Qur'an as the three laws.
The secular press, which regularly pines for intelligent dialogue in our factionalized world, freaks. It sees the reference to Mohammad in the Pope's address and shouts heresy against Mohammad! from the rooftops. The result is the torching of Catholic churches on the West Bank, the murder of a nun in Somalia as she left the hospital where she worked as a nurse, and vows by Islamic Fascists for the Pope's assassination.

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