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Reconsidering pope’s remarks

Letter to the Editor | Friday, September 29, 2006

Professor Rice has, as usual, written well and I applaud Pope Benedict XVI’s recent effort at peacemaking. However, his contentious and much lamented passage seems to strike as a noisy gong that continues to reverberate, jarring the sensibilities of many. It could have sounded much differently, had self-reflection – truly our tradition – guided its telling. Bad things happen, as Jesus tells us, when we begin to obsess over the speck in our neighbor’s eye.

Had Benedict XVI, then, thought to cite Luther’s “On War Against the Turks” (1529) matters would today be different. Ian Hazlett, reader in ecclesiastical history in the School of Divinity of the University of Glasgow, says of Luther’s work: “In this (Luther) startlingly rejects the old concept of religious crusade. This was based on his innovative notion that war on the grounds of religion was not permissible, since coercion in spiritual matters is unchristian.”

As a man of peace, Benedict XVI draws on a long tradition of peacemaking. That we might give thanks to God one day in the future that he has unceasingly employed that tradition to dispel, rather than encourage, this popular, yet specious, notion of a clash of civilizations.

C.J. Miller


Class of 1971

Sept. 26