Okay, I’m not Ratzinger’s biggest fan. Never have been. While in university, I studied much of what he’s written and, for the preservation of my blood-pressure, figuratively agreed to disagree with the man.
He’s a fundamentalist (insofar as a Catholic can be) hard-liner who uses his incredible mind to build rigid structures that he feels will stand up to the tumultuous forces of modernity. There is no flexibility to his approach and rarely any real reconciliation in his words. Given his position in the structure of the Roman Catholic Church, I suppose you can’t really expect much else. In fact, I have a certain grudging admiration for a person who sticks to his beliefs and ideologies when battered from all sides by life in the twenty-first century.
That said, what the hell was he thinking?? Surely a man who is as well-read and educated as is he can come up with a more politically astute way of condemning violence and can scrounge a less antagonistic quotation from the copious annals of history. It’s not like there’s any shortage of quotes about Islam, for heaven’s sake! Who on earth could be helped by what he said?
(Wanders off muttering to self about the idiocies of many religious leaders who don’t pay their spin doctors well enough or are too arrogant to hire them in the first place….. )
Post scriptum: For those needing a definition of the Newfoundland term “stunned”, please follow this link. I’d love to be able to attribute Benedict/Ratzinger’s words to definition number 2, but I suspect 1 is more accurate here.