Pope Benedict XVI has made a personal apology, and this time he had made his expression of sorrow stronger than that the ‘sincere regret’ that he conveyed through a Vatican statement previously. However, analysts commented that he didn’t exactly retract those provocative remarks in the speech which started it all.
While some Muslims seemed mollified by his sincerity, there remains those who would never be satisfied. KTemoc feels that an apology, especially a personal one and not issued as an official statement, is an apology, regardless of whether the original remarks had been withdrawn. An apology indicates that he regretted saying those things, even if, as he averred, he didn’t mean it the way Muslims have perceived those words. An apology signals that he wouldn’t, if he could turn the clock back, have said those words.
Pope Benedict went on to clarify that he does not share the offensive views of an emperor he quoted in a speech earlier this week. He reiterated he is ‘deeply sorry’ for the anger he caused.
The Pope voiced his regret during the traditional Angelus blessing from the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, his first public appearance since the speech.
He said: "I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address ... which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims."
"I hope that this [apology] serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect."
However, just to be on the safe side, the Italian Government has ordered police chiefs to raise the level of national security, amid violent threats by Islamist groups overseas. A hardline cleric linked to Somalia's powerful Islamist movement has passed a fatwa, calling for Muslims to hunt down and kill the pope, while an armed Iraqi group has threatened to carry out attacks against Rome and the Vatican.
In Palestine, people saw a third day of attacks on Christian places of worship in the territories, where unknown assailants throw Molotov cocktails and a burning tire at two Catholic churches in the northern West Bank.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas condemned the acts of terrorism. He called on Palestinians on Sunday to refrain from sectarian strife.
He stated: "All Palestinian citizens must prevent all harm to all Christian churches on Palestinian land. Our Christian brothers are citizens of Palestine. They are Palestinians."
[you won’t get this in the Jerusalem Post, except his condemnation of the pope’s speech]
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul says the Pope's visit will go ahead as planned because it's too late to change things, meaning the Turkish government still welcomes the Pope's tour even though it won't say so because of current Muslim feelings. He had earlier described the Pope's remarks in Germany as 'really unfortunate' and a setback for efforts to promote better understanding between religions and cultures.
(1) Pope Benedict Shattered Glass House & Goodwill
(2) Why Pope Benedict said it
(3) Pope says sorry