Sunday, September 17, 2006

Popes Apology

The Pope has, rightly, apologised for an ill considered remark that offended Muslims. A long, dull, heavily intellectual, speech to a university audience contained a quotation from an ancient emperor most of us had never heard and it got the Muslim world up in arms and protesting. Pope Benedict XVI has just learned that as a world leader he must be very careful when it comes to public speaking.

But I have to ask, does anyone care that the Muslims have offended the Catholic religion? Two churches in Palestine have been attacked and firebombed, a nun may have been shot as a result in Somalia, effigies of the pope were burned, he was compared to Hitler and Mussolini, Muslim leaders demanded he apologise personally, they called him ignorant and arrogant and accused him of having a Crusader mentality, and some extremists called on Muslims to "hunt down and kill whoever offended the Prophet Mohammed". If Catholics did the same things towards a major Muslim religious leader how do you think the Muslims would react? I'm not saying Catholics should start protesting but in the interest of balance I think it would be nice if some Muslim leaders came out and apologised in return for their behaviour.

In yesterdays Irish Times there was a picture of a protest banner that read "Mr Pope - Be with in your limits". It reminded me of the Harry Enfield sketch "Women - Know your Limits". Both reflect a way of behaving and thinking that are from a by gone era. It's time for everyone from all religions to show respect towards others.

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