Skip to comments.Benedict blunder shows he has failed to master media machine
Posted on 09/15/2006 3:04:01 PM PDT by Nachum
By unwittingly angering Muslims with his comments on Islam, Pope Benedict XVI has shown that he has yet to shake off his academic theological roots and master the global media machine with the same deftness as his predecessor.
In clinging to theology and orthodoxy, the bookish Benedict has shown little regard for media management in getting his message across, unlike the communications-savvy John Paul II.
Benedict railed Muslims when he quoted a 14th-century Christian emperor who said the Prophet Mohammed had brought the world only "evil and inhuman" things, portraying the Islam he founded as a religion which endorses violence, where faith is "spread by the sword".
Not for the first time in the 17-month-old pontificate, the Vatican has been forced to backtrack with a statement aimed at smoothing ruffled diplomatic feathers.
Benedict seeks to "cultivate an attitude of respect and dialogue toward other religions and cultures and obviously also toward Islam," the Vatican said.
Earlier this year, the German-born head of the Roman Catholic Church fell foul of Israel when he omitted to mention the Jewish State in the list of countries which were victims of terrorism.
In May, during a visit to the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in Poland, he appeared to absolve the German people from any responsibility for Nazism, saying the country had itself fallen victim to a "band of criminals" in the 1930s.
The gaffes are all the more surprising because his first year as pope had been a smooth transition from the era of John Paul II, with none of the hardline decisions many had expected from the former cardinal who earned the epithet "God's Rottweiler" for cracking down on Church dissidents.
Whereas John Paul, elected pope at the age of 58, had decades to perfect his role as Christianity's "great communicator", his timid 79-year-old successor has had little time to shed his image as a dour defender of the faith, honed by 24 years as the Vatican's doctrinal enforcer.
Despite this, he has seemed increasingly more at ease in his public appearances, never more so than during his visit this week to his Bavarian homeland, where the pope seemed almost jolly at times to be among his own people.
But at times he seems a prisoner of his former role as prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, and his years as a theology professor at Regensburg University, his message often clouded by high-flown doctrinal language.
Benedict had highlighted closer ties between Christians and Muslims, and Christians and Jews as priorities of his pontificate within days of his election in April last year.
He met both Muslim and Jewish leaders in Cologne a few months later, during his first foreign visit as leader of the world's more than one billion Roman Catholics.
In a few hours at Regensburg University on Tuesday night, he undid much of the groundwork done in Cologne a year before, and must now use his late-November visit to Turkey and its 70-million Muslim population as a major bridge-building exercise.
Given the diplomatic battle ahead to placate the Muslim world, the pope may wish to still have at his side Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, the Vatican's top expert on Islam until Benedict controversially transferred him as papal nuncio to Cairo.
Many Vatican watchers at the time believed it was a blunder to move the respected British archbishop at a time when relations with Islam had assumed such a high profile.
He also has yet to rebuild ties with the Russian Orthodox Church, which has accused Rome of proselytism in traditionally-Orthodox areas of eastern Europe.
Benedict was born in the Bavarian town of Marktl am Inn on April 16, 1927.
He has acknowledged that he was enrolled into the Hitler Youth during World War II, but much against his will. And he has been widely praised by Jewish organisations for his stand against anti-Semitism.
He was ordained priest in 1951, spent much of his early career as a theology professor and became archbishop of Munich in March 1977, later moving to the Vatican.
His housekeeper, Ingrid Stampa, has described him as a modest man of simple tastes. He rarely drinks wine as it gives him a headache, likes Italian cuisine but prefers German food, such as dumplings and apfelstrudel (apple pie).
He has shown an unexpected fondness for high fashion, wearing Prada shoes and Gucci sunglasses, and he has taken to wearing traditional hats not worn by popes for decades.
He is said to speak 10 languages, although the Italian press has commented on his German accent, and is an accomplished pianist.
Benedict's brother Georg, also a priest but three years his elder, has said that "health-wise he is not very robust. His heart is not very good." He has continued to express such worries since his election.
Who wrote this nonsense, brat Bart Simpson?
Ugh. This article most certainly needed a BARF ALERT on it.
I can't imagine his remarks were not well thought out.
This pope does not make blunders. This was his way of simply stating the terms of the conversation, but indirectly, in the course of an address that covered other matters. He even invited them to "dialogue" honestly about their differences. I guess the street riots and fatwas are the Muslim idea of "dialogue."
Translation: Muslims offended
(No more Olmert! No more Kadima! No more Oslo! )
speaking the truth is never a blunder.
I hope this wasn't a "blunder" but a good beginning of more to come. The islamis are asking for it and they know it.
Seems to me it's a bit late in his life to expect the Pope to lie in order to prevent media "blunders".
More "world leaders" should speak up against these muslim animals..... Instead the world cowers!
"By unwittingly angering Muslims with his comments on Islam,"
There is no "unwittingly angering Muslims". Anything other than total submission to muslim rule pisses muslims off.
And he wears funny hats. Truly this man is a threat to all life on Earth!
Our problem with Islam will only be solved with the facts. If Islamofacists were able to destroy the Empire State building on the 5th anniversary of 9/11 what percent of Moslems in the world would have approved such an action?
To liberals, believe in any Christian teaching IS a blunder.
Ah, bullshit! Muslims are spring-loaded to the pissed-off position. Let's be real.
He's the head of the Roman Catholic Church, not some public relations expert.
Oh good grief...is there any way to not anger a Muslim??? Remember the jihad against Burger King because the picture of chocolate ice cream kind of looked like Mohammad!
(they would've bombed the Sears tower instead)
Nonsense, he IMO figures to be assassinated by Muslims in his lifetime and he wanted to set the record straight regarding Mohammad (piss be upon him) and Islam in general.
muslim extremists cut the heads of off 13 year christian girls in indonesia several months ago..
pope makes COMMENTS about islam..
now who has the right to be outraged??
Given the diplomatic battle ahead to placate the Muslim world
I think he is a public realtions genius. He hit the nail on the head.
Very smart observation!
Naturally, AFP would say it was a blunder. Anything that offends the PC gods is a blunder to those losers. I'm delighted the Pope spoke his mind and I hope he doesn't back down.
bookmk ping-a-ling , for later
These crybabies can sat the most hateful stuff about the infidels, but read an unflattering paragraph out of the Book of Hate (Koran) and all hell breaks loose. Pope: Tell em to stick where the sun don't shine!
"Who wrote this nonsense, brat Bart Simpson?
Clearly an enemy of Christianity, not just Catholicism.
Notice the convenient omission of the author's name? Well, when that happens often means there is intent to hiding their true agenda.
No Catholic I, but this was not a blunder!
translation: speak the truth about Islam, in even the mildest terms, and the global MSM will join the raving jihad fanatics in trying to beat you into the shadows
Since when is speaking truthfully a 'blunder'?!?!?
The Pope's real message was a nuanced and correct one.
"By unwittingly angering Muslims with his comments on Islam" ... BS. Just as harmless cartoons wre the excuse for Arab muslim outrage, so too the reasoned and truthful questioning of Islam's violence issue.
" Pope Benedict XVI has shown that he has yet to shake off his academic theological roots and master the global media machine with the same deftness as his predecessor."
... who is, who? Bill Clinton?
LOL! I seriously doubt that Pope Benedict XVI gives a damn about mastering the "global media machine." Neither should he shake off his theological roots just so he can appease the global media machine or the heathen Muslims.
Only to the Stone-age press is the Truth a Blunder. Next they are going to start calling him a Cowboy. The Pope doesn't answer to Man, he answers to God.
Pray for W and Our Troops
He recalled all the past "blunders" of Il Papa and made sure to list them all. He'll lay in wait for future "blunders" so he can kill the messenger again.
The arrogant fascist Eurotrash responsible for this blog, this title and this article think they know so much more than a Pope.
They deserve to be lined up in front of a blunderbuss.
The irony is that this sort of Western secularist view is precisely what the Pope was warning against in his now famous speech. A faith which denies man's reason leads to the violence of Islamic fanaticism; while a reason which denies faith and "relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue" with "profoundly religious cultures".
Blunder? No way. Here's what he asked: What good has islam given the world? Can ANYONE find a single gift from islam to the world? If so, please list them.
That was a stupid article!
Well said. Islam has been the enemy of Christendom for 1400 years. It began as a military operation. The West finally beat it back in the 8th century in the middle of France, then at Belgrade, Lepanto, Vienna; and earlier Constantinople survived several sieges before falling in the 15th century. Pray tell, exactly what good and positive thing did it introduce to the world?
What blunder? What he said was right on the mark!
I can! You see Islam gave the world...
I'll get back to you on that.
I don't believe the Pope blundered at all, and if the Muslims are mad about it, it just means they understand the threat he poses to them. They have had a cushy time of it in the media up to this point; no one wanted to say anything bad for fear of reprisals. The Pope doesn't care about reprisals. He knows the Truth, and speaks it, as he should.
They will kill the pope.
There are too many Chamberlain type "world leaders" around today.
The Pope speaks of dialog and the Muzzies go Arab Street.
Anti Pope barf tag needed.
There is no reason to build a bridge to evil.
"Failed to master the media machine."
Or maybe the Pope just ignored the media machine and spoke the truth.
Or maybe he was looking for a real debate and some real thinking by so-called Christians, which even a very hostile media reaction might help to provoke.
Benedict is not a politician. He is a leader. The two approach the media quite differently. I would bet heavily that he knew, and knows, what he is doing.
Speaking the truth is not a blunder!