05 April 2016

Gregg: Regensburg Revisited


Dr. Samuel Gregg
Dear Reader, today there is an article posted to the internet that is both timely and insightful regarding Pope Benedict's Regensburg lecture of ten years ago. 
The article by Dr. Samuel Gregg is a "must read" to my way of thinking, and I commend it to you.  Below you will find the opening paragraphs of the article and then a link taking you to the article itself:

Regensburg Revisited: 
Ten Years Later, A West Still in Denial
April 04, 2016
Dr. Samuel Gregg

Irrationality not only manifests itself in violence 
but also in an inability to apply authentic reason 
to the many pressing challenges of our age.

A decade ago, a 79 year-old soft-spoken, white-haired German theologian returned to visit a university at which he had spent much of his academic career. On such occasions, it’s not unusual for a distinguished professor-emeritus to offer some formal remarks. Such reflections rarely receive much attention, and are often seen as exercises in reminiscing by scholars whose most substantial achievements are behind them.

In this instance, however, the speech delivered at the University of Regensburg on 12 September 2006 by the theologian Joseph Ratzinger, better known as Pope Benedict XVI, had immediate global impact. For weeks, even months afterwards, newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and even entire books attacked, defended, and analyzed the almost 4,000 words which came to be known as the Regensburg Address. Copies of the text and effigies of its author, however, were also ripped up, trampled on, and publicly burnt throughout the Islamic world. Television screens were dominated by images of enraged Muslim mobs and passionate denunciations by Muslim leaders, most of whom had clearly not read the text.

Also noticeable, however, was the frosty reception accorded to Pope Benedict’s remarks in much of the West. Descriptions such as “provocative,” “ill-timed,” “insensitive,” “un-feeling,” and “undiplomatic” appeared in religious and secular media outlets. Certainly the Pope had plenty of vocal defenders in North America and Europe. Among other things, they suggested that some Muslims’ frenzied reaction to the Regensburg Address proved that Benedict’s gentle query about the place of reason in Islamic belief and practice was dead on-target.

Yet there’s no doubt that Benedict’s words at Regensburg touched a nerve—perhaps even several nerves—in the Western world. For while the Regensburg Address received so much attention because of nine paragraphs in which Benedict analyzed a fourteenth-century exchange between a Byzantine Emperor and his Persian Muslim interlocutor, the text’s primary focus concerned deep problems of faith and reason that characterize the West and Christianity today. And many of these pathologies quickly surface whenever and wherever Islamist terrorism rears its head. They continue to enfeeble the West’s response to people whose acts in locations ranging from Brussels to Paris, Beirut to Jakarta, Jerusalem to San Bernardino, Abuja to London, and Lahore to New York reflect many things, including a particular understanding of the nature of the Divine.

Click here for the entire article at Catholic World Report.