So... did the Pope apologize? Does the Pope regret he made his comments? Or certain passages from the comments? Or the reactions, or the hurt feelings, or the offence to Islam? All of these versions of his state of mind and of his press announcement can be found in the media this morning - along with all their mutual contradictions. Pay particular attention to the headlines below - that's all that many people read.
One might imagine that the reporters, editors and headline writers could agree on the correct interpretation of a simple very well-publicized speech and announcement. But like almost everything else on their pages and in their stories, there's a significant element of personal agenda, of prejudice, of ignorance and of politics.
In other words, exactly what we see every day in the media's reporting of this ongoing war.
Pope sorry his Islam speech found offensiveSadly, the street mobs won't, in the end, care much whether he apologized or regretted; whether he took back his words or clarified them; whether he didn't mean to offend or whether he was conducting a crusade. Mobs don't respond to press statements. They're out there on the streets, serving the ambitions and political agendas of the religious and secular leaders who pull their strings, delivering a message of hatred, intolerance and threat.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican said on Saturday the Pope was sorry Muslims had been offended by a speech whose meaning had been misconstrued, but Morocco withdrew its ambassador as anger at his words flared on. "The Holy Father thus sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful," Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said in a statement.
Pope Apologizes for Offense Caused by Islam Comments
By Flavia Krause-Jackson and Andrew Frye
Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Pope Benedict XVI apologized today for causing offense to Muslims with comments he made in a university lecture this week implicitly linking Islam to violence, and reiterated his respect for the Islamic religion. The apology, on the Vatican Web site, comes after Muslim groups worldwide protested and Pakistan's parliament called on the pontiff to issue a retraction. Some Muslims welcomed the apology, with others saying it might not go far enough.
Pope sorry, says Vatican
Rashmee Roshan Lall 17 Sep, 2006 0043hrs
LONDON: The Vatican said on Saturday the Pope is 'very sorry' and 'deeply upset' that his remarks on Islam offended Muslims but press and public opinion throughout Europe indicated Benedict XVI may need to say the words himself to stamp out the spreading flames of fury.
Pope Stops Short of Apology to Muslims
By FRANCES D'EMILIO : Associated Press Writer
Sep 17, 2006 : 12:44 am ET
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI "sincerely regrets" offending Muslims with his reference to an obscure medieval text that characterizes some of the teachings of Islam's founder as "evil and inhuman," the Vatican said Saturday. But the statement stopped short of the apology demanded by Islamic leaders around the globe, and anger among Muslims remained intense. Palestinians attacked five churches in the West Bank and Gaza over the pope's remarks Tuesday in a speech to university professors in his native Germany.
Vatican fails to appease Muslims
Posted on Sun, Sep. 17, 2006
Statement explaining pope’s remarks doesn’t quell protests; five churches firebombed
From Wire Reports
CAIRO, Egypt — The Vatican issued a mildly worded apology Saturday after remarks by Pope Benedict XVI outraged Muslims around the world. But protests continued, including firebombing of churches in the Palestinian territories. The pope “sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful,” Deputy Pope Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said. The pope meant only to stress his “clear and radical rejection of religiously motivated violence,” Bertone said.
Pope says sorry for ‘offending’ Muslims
VATICAN CITY, Sept 16: The Vatican said on Saturday Pope Benedict was sorry that Muslims had been offended by a speech whose meaning had been misconstrued, but Morocco withdrew its ambassador as anger at his words flared on. “The Holy Father thus sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful,” Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said in a statement. But Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood rejected the the statement. “This (saying sorry) does not constitute an apology. The Vatican Secretary of State says that the pope is sorry because his statements had been badly interpreted, but there is no bad interpretation,” Abdel Moneim Abul Futuh, a senior official, said. “The pope made a mistake, he must recognise his mistake and apologise.”
Palestinians open fire inside Nablus church
The Vatican issued a statement Saturday saying that the pope was "extremely sorry" for the offence his comments had caused.
Pope says he `regrets' Islam comments
CHORUS OF DISAPPROVAL: Despite assurances from the Vatican that Benedict XVI respected Islam, many prominent Muslims worldwide were critical of the pontiff
AP , VATICAN CITY
Sunday, Sep 17, 2006,Page 6
Pope Benedict XVI "sincerely regrets" that Muslims have been offended by some of his words in a recent speech in Germany, the Vatican said yesterday amid demands for apologies from much of the Islamic world and some reports of violence. The new Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said... The pope "thus sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions," Bertone said in a statement. "Indeed it was he who, before the religious fervor of Muslim believers, warned secularized Western culture to guard against 'the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom,"' Bertone said, citing words from another speech that Benedict gave during the German trip. The cardinal's statement stopped short of any apology for what the pope said.
Pope 'sorry' for offence to Islam
Pope Benedict XVI has said he is sorry that a speech in which he referred to Islam has offended Muslims. In a statement read out by a senior Vatican official, the Pope said he respected Islam and hoped Muslims would understand the true sense of his words.
Pope apologises but more needed: Muslim groups
Vatican City, September 17, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI's statement, that he regretted causing any offence to Muslims fell short of an apology, Islamic groups said... The head of the Roman Catholic Church on Saturday said he "sincerely regretted" that he may have offended Muslims, but stopped short of retracting his words. The Muslim world seethed with fury over Pope's comments, which critics said linked violence and Islam. Reacting to Pope's statement, Muslim groups in Egypt said Benedict had not been sufficiently contrite. "This is not an apology. The Vatican secretary seems content to confirm that the Pope is sorry because his remarks were misinterpreted. But they were not misinterpreted," said Abdel Moneim Abul Futuh, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood group. "Pope made a mistake, he must recognise it and apologise," he added. In Jordan, Zaki bin Arshid, general secretary of the Islamic Action Front—one of the country's most influential political parties—said Benedict's comments on Saturday were "a step in the right direction, but not enough". "The apologies must be accompanied by clear and calming letters," he continued, adding, "if Pope's declarations were just an error, then an apology will be sufficient." But he continued that he hoped the remarks made in the speech were "not the Pope's or the Roman Catholic Church's real views, because then the situation would be very serious."
17 September 2006
POPE 'SO SORRY' FOR MUSLIM OUTRAGE
By Vincent Moss Political Editor
THE Pope said sorry yesterday after Muslims erupted in fury over his comments on Islam. Pope Benedict XVI sparked global outrage by quoting an ancient text linking the Prophet Mohammed with "evil and inhuman" things.
Pope Benedict XVI Apologizes for Offending Muslims
Pope Benedict XVI apologized for causing any offence to Muslims following the furious reaction across the Islamic world over a speech where the Pope linked Islam and violence.
A pity the editors, reporters, photographers and headline writers don't seem able to capture that insight.