L’articolo di Friedman—autore, tra l'altro, di America's Secret War—è piuttosto lungo, ma merita di essere letto per intero e con tutta l’attenzione che può meritare un’analisi molto dettagliata, sottile ma nel contempo estremamente concreta, attenta a non lasciare nulla di inesplorato tra ciò che potrebbe aiutare a comprendere una determinata situazione e il contesto geo-politico (e storico, socio-economico, culturale, ecc.) in cui essa è inserita.
Cito solo qualche brano, quanto basta a capire di cosa si tratta, dopodiché, ripeto, consiglio vivamente la lettura integrale dell’articolo.
Benedict’s words were purposely chosen. The quotation of Manuel II was not a one-liner, accidentally blurted out. The pope was giving a prepared lecture that he may have written himself — and if it was written for him, it was one that he carefully read. Moreover, each of the pope’s public utterances are thoughtfully reviewed by his staff, and there is no question that anyone who read this speech before it was delivered would recognize the explosive nature of discussing anything about Islam in the current climate. There is not one war going on in the world today, but a series of wars, some of them placing Catholics at risk.
It is true that Benedict was making reference to an obscure text, but that makes the remark all the more striking; even the pope had to work hard to come up with this dialogue. There are many other fine examples of the problem of reason and faith that he could have drawn from that did not involve Muslims, let alone one involving such an incendiary quote. But he chose this citation and, contrary to some media reports, it was not a short passage in the speech. It was about 15 percent of the full text and was the entry point to the rest of the lecture. Thus, this was a deliberate choice, not a slip of the tongue.
As a deliberate choice, the effect of these remarks could be anticipated. Even apart from the particular phrase, the text of the speech is a criticism of the practice of conversion by violence, with a particular emphasis on Islam.
Clearly, the pope intended to make the point that Islam is currently engaged in violence on behalf of religion, and that it is driven by a view of God that engenders such belief. Given Muslims’ protests (including some violent reactions) over cartoons that were printed in a Danish newspaper, the pope and his advisers certainly musthave been aware that the Muslim world would go ballistic over this. Benedict said what he said intentionally, and he was aware of the consequences. Subsequently, he has not apologized for what he said — only for any offense he might have caused. He has not retracted his statement.
Appurato quanto sopra, Friedman si chiede: Perché? E perché adesso? Le chiavi di lettura sono due. La prima è questa:
Benedict, whether he accepts Bush’s view or not, offered an intellectual foundation for Bush’s position. He drew a sharp distinction between Islam and Christianity and then tied Christianity to rationality — a move to overcome the tension between religion and science in the West. But he did not include Islam in that matrix. Given that there is a war on and that the pope recognizes Bush is on the defensive, not only in the war but also in domestic American politics, Benedict very likely weighed the impact of his words on the scale of war and U.S. politics. What he said certainly could be read as words of comfort for Bush. We cannot read Benedict’s mind on this, of course, but he seemed to provide some backing for Bush’s position.
Questa prima chiave di lettura, però, spiegherebbe soltanto il timing della lectio magistralis, per tutto il resto ne occorre una seconda, e stavolta non è più in gioco l’America di Bush, ma l’Europa ...