Pope Adds Apologetic Footnote to Official Text of Islam Speech

October 9, 2006

Author: Stacy Meichtry

Source: Beliefnet

Wire Service: RNS


In his latest bid to clarify remarks that enraged the Muslim world, Pope Benedict XVI has added a cautiously worded footnote to the official text of the address he delivered at the University of Regensburg in Germany.

The footnote aimed to further assuage anger over Benedict's use of a quote by a medieval Christian ruler, referring to the teachings of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad as "evil and inhuman" and "spread by the sword."

That comment has sent Christian-Muslim relations into a tailspin. Numerous effigies of the pope have been burnt in public, a nun was shot dead in Somalia, and an Istanbul-bound plane was temporarily hijacked by a Turkish Christian who feared persecution.

On Monday (Oct. 9), a footnote appeared next to the offending quote on the official English version of Benedict's address posted on the Vatican's Web site.

"In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, thus arousing understandable indignation. I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Quran, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion," Benedict said in the footnote.