September 20, 2010

Benedict XVI's call for religious reciprocity

During his UK visit, Benedict XVI said many things on many topics. Most of these things went unreported or underreported, sometimes with a certain degree of inaccuracy (to say the least), by the mainstream media. One of them is the following statement, made during His Holiness meeting with representatives of Britain’s other major religions, namely Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs (read the full text of the speech here):

The presence of committed believers in various fields of social and economic life speaks eloquently of the fact that the spiritual dimension of our lives is fundamental to our identity as human beings, that man, in other words, does not live by bread alone. As followers of different religious traditions working together for the good of the community at large, we attach great importance to this ‘side by side’ dimension of our cooperation, which complements the ‘face to face’ aspect of our continuing dialogue. […] Ever since the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has placed special emphasis on the importance of dialogue and cooperation with the followers of other religions. In order to be fruitful, this requires reciprocity on the part of all partners in dialogue and the followers of other religions. I am thinking in particular of situations in some parts of the world, where cooperation and dialogue between religions calls for mutual respect, the freedom to practice one’s religion and to engage in acts of public worship, and the freedom to follow one’s conscience without suffering ostracism or persecution, even after conversion from one religion to another.

Now, dear readers, which one of the above mentioned religions was the Pope referring to, in your honest opinion? Ok, no rhetorical questions … There is no doubt that His Holiness referred to them. So, the moral of the story is very simple: once again, while the Pope has shown himself to not be afraid to take a clear stand on controversial issues, the mainstream media have shown their ineptitude, i.e. their reluctance to “displease” the Muslim world, even when its behavior is grossly inadequate and inexcusable.

1 comment:

  1. Catholic demands for reciprocity have grown, especially since the accession of Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005. Only a few months after his election as pontiff he emphasized the need to respect the convictions and religious practices of others so that, in a reciprocal manner, the exercise of freely-chosen religion is truly assured to all.
    Obtaining the same rights for Christians in Islamdom that Muslims enjoy in Christendom has become the key to the Vatican's diplomacy toward Muslims. This balanced, serious approach marks a profound improvement in understanding that could have implications well beyond the Church, given how many lay politicians heed its leadership in inter-faith matters. Should Western states also promote the principle of reciprocity (but it's amazing at how silent the Liberals and the Mainstream Media are over this whole matter …) the results should indeed be interesting.