Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pope “sincerely regrets” that his words have offended; text of official apology

Vatican City, Sep. 16, 2006 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI regrets that his recent comments have been misinterpreted in an offensive way, thus spurring outrage among many Muslims, according to the Vatican’s Secretary of State. On the second day of his new job, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone released a statement clarifying that the Pontiff regards Muslims with “respect and esteem,” and calling people to give his remarks a “complete and attentive” reading.

Bertone said that it was necessary to release a statement in addition to the one released by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, due to the reaction by many Muslims to a short passage in the Pope’s recent address at the University of Regensburg. The reaction of the Muslim world has moved from the expression of displeasure by Muslim clerics to the burning of effigies of the Pope and attacks on Christian churches in the Middle East.

The cardinal emphasized that Benedict holds the same position on Islam as the Church expressed in paragraph 3 of the Vatican II document “Nostra Aetate.”

The document states that that the Church regards Muslims, “with esteem,” noting their adoration of “the one God” their honor for Jesus (who Muslims consider a prophet) and Mary, their valuing of the moral life, and attentiveness to prayer, almsgiving, and fasting.

Today, in "The Jerusalem Post" the full text of that apology is revealed in this article.

Text of Pope's official apology statement
Associated Press
Sep. 17, 2006 14:19

The following is the text of the official Vatican translation of Pope Benedict XVI's remarks, delivered in Italian on Sunday about his Sept. 12 speech that sparked anger among Muslims:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The pastoral visit which I recently made to Bavaria was a deep spiritual experience, bringing together personal memories linked to places well known to me and pastoral initiatives towards an effective proclamation of the Gospel for today.

I thank God for the interior joy which he made possible, and I am also grateful to all those who worked hard for the success of this Pastoral Visit. As is the custom, I will speak more of this during next Wednesdays general audience.

At this time, I wish also to add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims.

These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought.

Yesterday, the Cardinal Secretary of State published a statement in this regard in which he explained the true meaning of my words. I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect.

See also the "Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate)".


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