Sunday, September 17, 2006

New York Times Insults the Pope

Entrance to the New York Times' Main Offices
229 West 43rd Street in New York City
(Image from Wikipedia)

In an editorial published on September 16, 2006, provocatively titled "The Pope's Words," the New York Times distorts what the Pope actually said by citing his Regensburg speech in a way that strongly implies that he himself called Islam "evil and inhuman":

There is more than enough religious anger in the world. So it is particularly disturbing that Pope Benedict XVI has insulted Muslims, quoting a 14th-century description of Islam as "evil and inhuman."
In the most provocative part of its editorial, the Times treats as disingenuous the Vatican's assurance "that Benedict meant no offense and in fact desired dialogue," for it objects that "this is not the first time the pope has fomented discord between Christians and Muslims."

Giving itself some wiggle room, the Times allows for possible carelessness in the Pope's remarks:

[I]t is tragic and dangerous when ... [the Pope] sows pain, either deliberately or carelessly.

Clearly, however, the Times does not really consider the Pope's remarks merely careless, for it demands "a deep and persuasive apology."

A billion Catholics worldwide are doubtless angry at the Times for its strong suggestion that the Pope, whom Catholics consider the Vicar of Christ, has deliberately insulted Muslims and that he is now being disingenuous about his insult. Undoubtedly, Catholics will soon be marching in streets across the globe to protest the Times' "Pope-o-phobia." Let us hope that their injured feelings for their revered Pope does not lead them to commit regretable acts of violence, but if they do, then the Times must be held accountable for its role in this crisis.

The world listens carefully to the words of the New York Times. And it is tragic and dangerous when this paper sows pain, either deliberately or carelessly. The Times editors need to offer a deep and persuasive apology, demonstrating that words can also heal.

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At 7:48 AM, Blogger Conservative in Virginia said...

NYT apologize? In your dreams.

I don't suppose they published the entire text of his speech? Or even as much as the Gypsy Scholar quoted?

At 8:28 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Oh, well, it was satire anyway.

The only real quote that I saw in the editorial was this:

"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

The Times acknowledged that these words came from theh Byzantine emperor but failed to provide any context and left the impression that these were also "The Pope's Words" -- as the editorial's title itself states.

I've since looked at the original German, and see that the Pope put even more distance there between his position and that of the emperor, who -- as the Pope put it -- "wendet ... sich in erstaunlich schroffer, uns ├╝berraschend schroffer Form" (i.e., "expressed ... himself brusquely, for us in an astoundingly brusque manner"), just prior to introducing the emperor's controversial quote.

The English translation, while distancing the Pope considerably, didn't express as much distance as the original German.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:00 AM, Blogger Conservative in Virginia said...

Egads, do you speak the language of every country you've visited?

At 9:30 AM, Blogger Kate Marie said...

Excellent, HJH.

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

CIV, I spent 6 years in Germany and had already studied the language prior to my sojourn there.

As for every language ... hardly. I still can't speak Korean. In fact, I can speak only English and German.

And German not very well...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:53 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, KM. I thought that at least one non-Catholic ought to speak up for the Pope.

But I'm sure that I'm not really the sole non-Catholic doing so.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a good one, Jeffery.

At 3:22 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Nathan.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:39 PM, Blogger Conservative in Virginia said...

Couchepin backs Pope's Islam comments

At 4:02 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, CIV, that was interesting --- especially Kung's remarks.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The MSM & Times purposely misrepresent the Pope and many others merely to create havoc to pad their corrupt pockets. This example proves their refusal to accept a position of responsibility to protect the innocent from the bloodshed that they themselves induce. Of course the Islamofascists are going to murder, pillage and burn Christians over a historical fact. There is no recognition of history by fascists; they see only what they want to accept, nothing else. The Roman Pope is not Greek Orthodox, yet Greek Christians today suffer the same fate as those in Byzantine times about whom the Pope recounted in his address.

At 6:56 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Anonymous, for the comment. I'd agree with several of your points -- though I think that the MSM (i.e., "mainstream media") covers a spectrum of views -- but I differ from you in the label that I'd use for the Islamists, for I have doubts that "fascist" or "Islamofascist" is an accurate term. You can find my thoughts on that issue a few posts ago.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are some wonderful Islamics, and there are some terrible Islamofascists, and many there are between as well.

Watching the MSM 9/11 last week and reviewing National Geographic's 9/11 video, we saw the tribal leader of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance representing a wonderful Muslim who was murdered by al Qaeda's fascistic hand.

At 1:45 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

Fanatics need no incitement. The violent response was the opposite of reason, and empirical proof of Paleologus' assertion. The NYT is a peculiar paper. I have a lot of respect fot the intellectual tone, but they have no apparent ability to reflect upon their own motives. What did they hope to accomplish by such a request? Make the Pope apologize for impressions left in the minds of hasty readers? Why should he apologize? He has to apologize for the same reason that ransom must be negotiated. Why should NYT add to that burden?

At 9:28 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JJ, I agree. I was telling my wife that the NYT should have made an effort to defuse the anger by a careful analysis of the Pope's words.

It failed.

Jeffery Hodges

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