Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Papa in Brasilia

Benedict has got himself in another controversy (although no violence thank God this time around) for saying the following:
“The proclamation of Jesus and of his Gospel did not at any point involve an alienation of the pre-Columbus cultures, nor was it the imposition of a foreign culture.”
These peoples had silently longed for Christianity and it "purified" their culture.

So that makes a trifecta. He angered Jews for his statements at Auschwitz. The quotation of the Byzantine Emperor angered many a Muslim. And now indigenous peoples.

Benedict today tried to tone down the statement saying it was:
“not possible to forget the suffering and the injustices inflicted by colonizers against the indigenous population, whose fundamental human rights were often trampled.”
As the article rightly points out the simplest answer tends to be the correct one: Benedict is tone deaf and not made for politics. He knows church politics well. But his a theologian and bishop not a church Vatican diplomat. And it shows. He's more Mr. Maggoo-ish than out to get people seems to me. I just don't think he is aware of the impact of his words on others. How his words will be seen by others (some? many? a substantial enough number to at least consider revising if not self-editing?).

I haven't had a chance to read the entire text of the speech in Brazil nor this radio address. Hopefully I can get to that tomorrow. I bring this issue up mostly because it distracts from what are otherwise important points he wants to make: criticizing both Marxism and capitalism; abortion and the War in Iraq. But this message gets lost by these kinds of lines. They're self-destructive.


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