The Times Versus Benedict
February 11, 2013 at 8:19 am
The Times coverage this morning of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI makes clear that the Times really, really doesn't like him. The second sentence of the article sums him up as "a profoundly conservative figure whose papacy was overshadowed by clerical abuse scandals."
The article goes on:
When he took office, Pope Benedict's well-known stands included the assertion that Catholicism is "true" and other religions are "deficient;" that the modern, secular world, especially in Europe, is spiritually weak; and that Catholicism is in competition with Islam. He had also strongly opposed homosexuality, the ordination of women priests and stem cell research.
… For the church's liberal elements, rather than being the answer to that crisis, Benedict's election represented the problem: an out-of-step conservative European academic.
… In 2006, less than two years into his papacy, Benedict stirred ire across the Muslim world, referring in a long, scholarly address to a conversation on the truths of Christianity and Islam that took place between a 14th-century Byzantine Christian emperor, Manuel II Paleologus, and a Persian scholar.
"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said. "He said, I quote, '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.'"
While making clear that he was quoting someone else, Benedict did not say whether he agreed or not. He also briefly discussed the Islamic concept of jihad, which he defined as "holy war," and said that violence in the name of religion is contrary to God's nature and to reason.
Catholics don't oppose all stem cell research, just embryonic stem cell research, so that part of the article is inaccurate. Moreover, I'd venture that most religious people believe their own religion is true and that others are deficient; the Times' tendency to marvel at this when it comes to Benedict says more about the Times' view of religion overall than it says about Benedict. Finally, does the Times have a competing definition of jihad? My authoritative Webster's Second unabridged defines jihad as "1. a Moslem holy war." This is another example that tells you more about the Times than about Benedict.
Related Topics: Religion
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