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The Pope Pontificates

As you've probably heard, the pope stirred up a hornet's nest with comments about Islam. Roger McShane's Today's Papers column in Slate provides a nice summary of events and drips with irony:

The pope's suggestion that compulsion and violence are inherent features of Islam has outraged the Muslim world. In Afghanistan, where apostates are subject to execution, the parliament and the Foreign Ministry demanded an apology. In Yemen, where religious conversion is punishable by death, the president has threatened to sever diplomatic ties. In the West Bank, Palestinians attacked four churches with guns and firebombs. And a Somali cleric added his two cents: "Whoever offends our Prophet Muhammad should be killed on the spot by the nearest Muslim."

Andrew Sullivan analyzed the pope's comments (here, here, and here) and linked to the transcript. Other papal comments also made the news. From an article by Tracy Wilkinson in the LA Times titled "Pontiff Admonishes Catholics Not to Lose Their Souls to Science":

Under glorious skies in this Bavarian capital where he once lived, Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday warned Roman Catholics against letting modern concerns drown out God's word, adding that technology alone could not solve the world's problems. An overreliance on science has made too many Catholics deaf to the teachings of the church, the pope said in a homily that scolded Western European societies for an increasingly secular focus. Faith is needed to combat diseases such as AIDS, he said... "Put simply, we are no longer able to hear God -- there are too many different frequencies filling our ears," he said. "What is said about God strikes us as pre-scientific, no longer suited to our age."... "Social issues and the Gospel are inseparable," the pope said. "When we bring people only knowledge, ability, technical competence and tools, we bring them too little.


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