Saturday, 9 August 2014

Remembering Regensburg

'I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on - perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara - by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both.[1] It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than those of his Persian interlocutor.[2] The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between - as they were called - three "Laws" or "rules of life": the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur'an. It is not my intention to discuss this question in the present lecture; here I would like to discuss only one point - itself rather marginal to the dialogue as a whole - which, in the context of the issue of "faith and reason", I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.
In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις - controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to some of the experts, this is probably one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness that we find unacceptable, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”[3] The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".[4]'

Apparently, the then Cardinal Bergoglio was outraged by his now predecessor's address, suggesting that what Benedict XVI had said would 'undo' the hard work done by St John Paul II on building relations with Islam. While Islamic militants devour Christians in Iraq and Syria, behead them, sell Christian women into slavery, conduct rape of Christian women and murder their children, is His Holiness still worried that any criticism he might make of the atrocities there will 'undo' the hard work done by St John Paul II in building relationships with Islam? Is it possible, perhaps, that despite what Benedict XVI said in his speech lamenting those particular faiths that dispense entirely with reason, and support violence in the name of religion being unpopular that he was completely 100% correct? Does his Successor have issues with truth or even reality? Or do we have a Pope who considers the papacy to be a purely political office, his role political, his vocation that of a politician?


Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

Since Bergoglio's and jpii's mission is/was to dissolve truth (Christ) and elevate lies (the idol of the lamas, the demon the muslims chop heads off for, the rabbinical 'moshiach' the rabbis become judaic supremicists in 'anticipation' over, and all the other infernal perdition party), bergoglio was right when he said a bit of straight talk from Benedict would 'undo' all those carefully knitted lies. People whose purpose is to placate and even encourage evil are what they placate and encourage.

There's the Sword of Truth - Christ. Then there's the sword of iniquity. The Sword of Truth destroys lies and destroys death. The sword of inquity defends only lies and deals only death. For years now Bishops all over the west have been selling off Church property to islamic 'charities' because those same bishops are enamoured of the sword of iniquity and not in any way interested in the Sword of Truth. I wonder what all those generations of Faithful Catholics who, gifted (from their own hard work) those lands and buidlings to the Church for Her exaltation think? I wonder if these same bishops think they'll be able to sit down at table in whatever perverse 'heaven' they have concoted in their heads (but they probably don't believe in an afterlife) and have tea with worshippers of yet another god of the sword of iniquity without getting their heads served back to them on a plate? Ridiculous.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

Well, nobody said that following Christ would be a live and let live nature walk, with a liesurely lgbtq and possilby non-lgbtq kindred day after the jewish sabbath joi-fest, peace man of iniquity and positive vibes dude of perdition experience - oh wait.

St Gertrude the Great said this:

O Precious Lord Jesus, true and fruitful Vine, remember now the lavish, the excessive profusion wherewith Thou didst shed Thy Precious Blood, when on the Cross Thou didst tread the winepress alone, and wast crushed as a cluster of ripe grapes; when Thou didst give us water and Blood from Thy pierced Side, so that not one drop remained in Thy Heart. Then wast Thou hung up as a bundle of myrrh, and Thy tender Flesh grew pale, and Thy moisture was all dried up within Thee, and the marrow of Thy bones consumed. By this Thy most bitter Passion, and by the shedding of Thy most Precious Blood, I beseech Thee, O most loving Jesus, wash my soul at the hour of my death with the water which flowed from Thy Sacred Side, and adorn it with comeliness in the Precious Blood of Thy sweetest heart, and render it acceptable in Thy sight in the fragrant odor of Thy Divine love. Amen.


Anonymous said...

"Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul."

How prophetic was Benedict XVI in reminding us, ever so obliquely and politely, of the reality of Islam as it is lived out. An uncomfortable truth for us, but even more so for the Christians of Iraq and Syria, inter alia.

May God deliver them, and may their sufferings give God glory, bring them to heaven, and bear fruit for all the Church.


Lepanto said...

The lie that Islam is a 'religion of peace' was always sickening to anyone who had read the Koran but now the lie should be clear even to the Pope. Saying that 'most Muslims are peaceful' is a truth that doesn't change the fact that mistreatment and violence against infidels is demanded of them by their 'holy' book and a large minority of them are always going to take its demands seriously. Would the Pope claim that, because most Germans who supported Hitler were peaceful and not personally anti-Semitic, that Nazism itself was 'peaceful'?

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

@Lepanto: yeah: most 'muslims' are 'peaceful' because they are, happily protected from the seriously evil rubbish of their 'religion' or, by the Grace of Jesus Christ, not messed up enough to follow moham the satanic 'verses' prophet. If only we had a pope to show the satanic-jihadists the error of their ways - they could take the red pill rather than the blue pill which will only ever cause one to fall back into the sleep of lies and fraudulent perdition. Alas.

John Nolan said...

It is quite possible that Pope Francis's background inclines him to be a politician, and the cardinals were aware of this when they elected him.

Православный физик said...

I'm afraid the answer to your questions are yes...if it hasn't been clear from the actions of this Pontificate. If it hasn't been noticed, Pope Francis answers questions in terms of a subjective situation. (e.g. the who am I to judge comments) and he rarely uses the objective reality to look at a situation.

God help us.

Long-Skirts said...

In 1990, Lefebvre was convicted in a French court and sentenced to pay a fine of 5,000 francs when he stated that, as a result of Muslim immigration into Europe, "it is your wives, your daughters, your children who will be kidnapped and dragged off to a certain kind of places as they exist in Casablanca".

“And he said: Amen I say to you, that no prophet is accepted in his own country.” Luke 4:24 (Douay-Rheims Bible)

Anonymous said...

I do not know if you've already come across this. Posting it all the same.

God bless

Sadie Vacantist said...

B16's lecture was a veiled critique of the Anglo-Saxon involvement in the Middle East and not an attack on Islam. He was expressing in philosophical terms what Reagan had said 30 years before i.e. he didn't understand the Islamic World. Pope Benedict was effectively affirming the disconnect between the West and Islam. Looking back it was a silly lecture and just as irresponsible as F1's off the cuff remarks.

Anonymous said...

The so called Anglicans did the same thing that the Islamic Fundamentalist are doing in Iraq and Syria now.
Henry VIII started the confiscation of Catholic property and the murdering of Catholics for pure economic interests. Elisabeth I continued the reign of terror and the holocaust of the Catholics and the cleansing of Church property from both wealth and religious symbols. The persecution and systematic murdering of Catholics continued for a long time.
The system and historical revisionists called it 'Reformation'.
What's is happening in Iraq is nothing new. It will happen again, and again.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

And the 'church' of rehabilitating the devil continues:

The priest and former Nicaraguan foreign secretary Miguel d´Escoto Brockmann said today [Tuesday] that Cuban leader Fidel Castro is a chosen man of God to convey the message of the Holy Spirit in Latin America.

Brockmann 'rehabilitates' Castro, and Bregoglio 'rehabilitates' Brockmann.

Who am I to judge said...

It was a horrible mistake for Pope Benedict XVI to resign.

Unknown said...

Tee hee---you are cativo, Senor Viterbo!

Seattle Kimmy

Unknown said...

I think I am going to make a Facebook page for St. James the Moor Slayer tonight. He's my new favorite saint. If you facebook---friend him!!

Seattle kim

Jonathan said...

Thanks for posting the context from the Pope's speech. Can anyone here help me understand it? I have problems with the following passage,

'Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God's nature.'

This image of God seems to me irreconcilable with God in the Old Testatment. If 'violence is incompatible with the nature of God' then presumably it was not God who killed the first born sons of Egypt and drowned Pharaoh's army in the Red Sea.

Was it 'reasonable' of God to ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? Was it reasonable for Abraham to go along with the request? Not according to a contemporary understanding of reason.

The instructions that God gave to Moses regarding claiming the promised land are unambiguously for a process now called ethnic cleansing. In fact the Israelites acted more reasonably than they were instructed; they did not kill all the pagans. For eshewing violence in this way God punished the Israelites.

And if there is no compulsion in religion then how could God order the Israelites to tear down all the sacred poles and remove the altars from the hills?

In earlier centuries Catholics were immersed in this traditional morality and acted consistently with it when they burned heretics.

I do not think that Benedict's image of God in this speech is consistent with God as described in the Old Testament or as understood by Christians of the Middle Ages.

Jacobi said...

As Manuel II stated, and Benedict agreed, the spreading of faith by violence is unreasonable, and contrary to God’s Law. Therefore, since it is wrong and of a serious matter, it is both wrong and evil.

Since the spread of Islam by violence, in addition to other methods, are inherent concepts of Islam, then Islam as a faith is inherently wrong and evil.

Anyone who says otherwise is wrong.

The current behaviour of Islam in the Middle East and Africa demonstrates this, as has the whole series of murderous attacks and bombing on Western society over the past decades.

Andrew said...


Upon reading the entirety of the Regensburg lecture, you should find that Benedict does address practically all of the issues you have raised.

Specifically, there is a treatment as to how the epoch of the Hebrew scriptures was brought forward via its translation as the Septuagint in a:

"distinct and important step in the history of revelation...which brought about this encounter [with reason] in a way that was decisive for the birth and spread of Christianity. A profound encounter of faith and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine enlightenment and religion. From the very heart of Christian faith and, at the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to faith, Manuel II was able to say: Not to act "with logos" is contrary to God's nature."

There's much more, obviously. Here's the link:

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

Seattle Kimmy - may we all cleave to the True tree. I raise a glass to you, and a parting glass to the Faithull unknown we are bound to pray for every Friday.

Anonymous said...

Suffering for Christ!
By Alyoshenka :

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

@Long-Skirts, thanks for mentioning a Catholic with a platform who has told truth of truth and truth of lies in the past 60years.

Nicolas Bellord said...


Many thanks for the link to the Regensburg lecture. However I am not entirely clear that the lecture does answer Jonathan's points. Take some of the Book of Joshua for example. Some of it is horribly reminiscent of what ISIS has been doing in the last few days and weeks. Are we to understand that the Hellenistic adjunct to Faith is to give a very different view of the nature of God as being rational? I.e. that our view of God has developed over time and that the view expressed in the Old Testament is often wrong or at the very least undeveloped in parts? That seems to me to be the way to regard the OT. Thus it seems to me that the OT should come with a health warning. I have never heard anyone give that warning but it does seem to me essential; particularity when one thinks of extreme Zionists who use it to justify their sole occupation of the land of Palestine.

But what a brilliant lecture! Bergoglio's criticism is worrying.

Andrew said...

Hi Nicolas,

The New Advent encyclopedia has an interesting paragraph on the Moral Aspect of Divine Law as it pertains to the people of the OT:

"Because the code of morality which we have in the Old Testament was inspired by God and imposed by Him on His people, it follows that there is nothing in it that is immoral or wrong. It was indeed imperfect, if it be compared with the higher morality of the Gospel, but, for all that, it contained nothing that is blameworthy. It was suited to the low stage of civilization to which the Israelites had at the time attained; the severe punishments which it prescribed for transgressors were necessary to bend the stiff necks of a rude people; the temporal rewards held out to those who observed the law were adapted to an unspiritual and carnal race. Still its imperfections must not be exaggerated. In its treatment of the poor, of strangers, of slaves, and of enemies, it was vastly superior to the civilly more advanced Code of Hammurabi and other celebrated codes of ancient law. It did not aim merely at regulating the external acts of the people of God, it curbed also licentious thoughts and covetous desires. The love of God and of one's neighbour was the great precept of the Law, its summary and abridgment, that on which the whole Law and the Prophets depended. In spite of the undeniable superiority in this respect of the Mosaic Law to the other codes of antiquity, it has not escaped the adverse criticism of heretics in all ages and of Rationalists in our own day. To meet this adverse criticism it will be sufficient to indicate a few general principles that should not be lost sight of, and then to treat a few points in greater detail."*


Nicolas Bellord said...

Andrew: Many thanks for the text and the reference. Certainly I agree that the OT is in many ways greatly superior to what other codes had at the time. However I am not entirely convinced that that some of the things allowed or commanded were not immoral by any standard - I think we can surely say we do not have to believe there was no misreporting at times!

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