The Pope and The Irish Post.

The Irish Post, a newspaper which calls itself the voice of the Irish in Britain and a newspaper for which I have written very occasionally, devotes half its editorial comment column to reminding readers that the Pope, when he quoted the 14th century Byzantine emperor’s remarks about about the teachings of Muhammad, was in fact giving an address which was a warning against violence being used as a tool of religion.

It rightly points out that Benedict’s predecessor Pope John Paul II, being a shrewd judge of the media and someone who knew only too well how to deliver a hard message without creating a ballyhoo, would never have allowed remarks like that slip out in public.

The editorial goes on to say:

It would seem self-evident that Pope Benedict had no intention of of insulting Muslims but he has yet to learn how the media age we live in can can see complicated arguments twisted into simplistic soundbites for the sake of a headline.

I have got no reason to think that the media twisted the Pope’s statement in any way,  or took it out of context, if by context you mean that he later distanced himself from the remark by saying he did not believe it to be true, or that if he did believe it be true, he also believed that other religions – including his own – could, and had, at times been justifiably criticised in the same way. Most serious commentators I have read have found it difficult to defend him, and indeed some those who normally rise to Pope’s defence have struggled to be persusive in his defence on this occasion persuasively on this occasion.

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