Double standards abound

By  Fr. Raby
  • October 6, 2006

I am always amazed and saddened how newspaper columnists who preface their remarks by stating they "are not Catholics" but are quick to criticize the Pope for what he may or may not do, and then proceed to tell him what he should do.

I am thinking of the very selective criticism by those critics of the Pope who think he is fair game to blame for what he says on morality or international concerns, but show a reluctance to speak out against others who oppose the Pope and the church's stands. I feel that at times their comments reflect a fear of going against popular opinion, and at other times fear of a retaliation by those who use violence instead of reason as argument.

I saw that in the reaction to Pope Benedict's talk in Germany over a quote about the efforts of Islam to convert persons by force. Pope Benedict was speaking about God as a being of reason, which is not the thinking of radical Muslims whose aim is to convert others to their way of life by force.

Lamentations over the Pope's words and calls for him to apologize by columnists and editors were not matched by condemnations of the Islamic mobs' burning of Catholic churches and the killing of a religious sister.

What bothers me is that they call for the Pope to apologize for a centuries old quotation but do not ask for an apology from those responsible for the bombs and killing. I have yet to hear even those who are called "moderate Muslims" come out loudly to condemn the violence of the radicals. Perhaps they are too afraid of the radicals' reactions.

Of course it is easier and safer to criticize your friends who warn of dangers of appeasing an enemy who want to destroy you, than face up to that threat by strong resistance. And let's face it, the enemies of our democratic way of life and our freedoms are the radical Islamic leaders.

The history of own times (remember Hitler) shows us the failure of trying to appease an enemy intent on conquering us.

Pope Benedict invited members from 22 countries and other Islamic leaders last month to the Vatican to defuse the violent protests. He told them that the circumstances that give rise to the gathering are well known, but he did not dwell on the remarks that caused such a furor among Muslims. He said that Christians and Muslims "must learn to work together," and "guard against all forms of intolerance and oppose manifestations of violence.

Those who profess to be moderates in their Islamic faith will likely agree with the Pope's words about working together and opposing violence. But if those who live by the code of violence as the response to any real or imaginary opposition do not agree, nothing will change. Their answer is to kill the opposition, be it a fellow Muslim or the Pope.

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