July 28, 2007

(Continuing) Islamophobia in the Vatican

The Vatican remains Islamophobic. Despite a recent change in Vatican policy that emphasizes a diplomatic approach in dealing with the Muslim world (instead of a theological approach), recent comments by the Private Secretary to Pope Benedict XVI, Monsignor Georg Ganswein, show that anti-Islamic attitudes in the Vatican die hard.

From The Telegraph (UK):
The Pope's private secretary has given warning of the Islamization of Europe and stressed the need for the continent's Christian roots not to be ignored, in comments released yesterday.

"Attempts to Islamize the West cannot be denied," Monsignor Georg Gaenswein was quoted as saying in an advance copy of the weekly Sueddeutsche Magazin to be published today.

"The danger for the identity of Europe that is connected with it should not be ignored out of a wrongly understood respectfulness," the magazine quoted him as saying.

He also defended a speech that the Pope gave last year that linked Islam and violence, saying it had been an attempt by the pontiff to "act against a certain naivety".

In the speech during a visit to Germany in September, the Pope appeared to endorse a view, contested by most Muslims, that Islam's followers spread their religion in its early days by violence.


Recently, Joachim Meisner, the influential archbishop of Cologne, said in a radio interview that the "immigration of Muslims has created a breach in our German, European culture."

From Catholic Online:
“I believe that the speech in Regensburg,” he said, “is prophetic.” He added that the pope wrote his own speeches and that those remarks had not been edited.

The papal secretary said that the “harsh reactions” to the speech was “a big surprise, also to the pope.”

"The huge fuss that arose was because of newspaper reports that took a certain quote out of context and presented it as the pope’s personal opinion," he said.

The pope sought to speak to the fact that “no such thing” specifically defines Islam, Msgr. Ganswein said. “It does not have a voice that is obligatory and binding to all Muslims.”

"Under this term,” he said of Islam, “many different groups are put together that are partially hostile to each other, some even extremist, who refer their doings to the Quran and who use rifles for their goals.”

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