Monday, September 25, 2006

James Carroll's pulpit vs. those in our parishes

From today's Boston Globe op-ed:

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the fifth anniversary of 9/11 by citing, on the next day, a 14th-century slur that Mohammed brought "things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." The patently false characterization of Mohammed's teaching, displaying an ignorance of the Koran, of the magnificence of Islamic devotion, and of history was offered almost as an aside in the pope's otherwise esoteric lecture about reason and faith. After Muslim uproar, the pope, while not really apologizing, insisted he had meant no harm.

First of all, the Holy Father is not "ignorant of the Koran" and I suspect Mr. Carroll knows this. Secondly, glossing over the Muslim reaction as an "uproar" is, in my opinion, a bit of an understatement.

Mr. Carroll continues his -- let's call it "chastisement" -- of His Holiness, particularly, one can only surmise, for the latter's defense of the Roman Catholic Church. Why? Evidently acknowledging the Roman Catholic Church as the true faith is "insulting" to others.

"But Kelly...nobody takes these pundits seriously!"

No? Maybe readers of this blog don't, but many people do!

Last week here in Boston, an 80+ year old lady walked out of the chapel prior to the Vigil Mass, decrying the Pope as the devil incarnate (besides being a Nazi). Okay, maybe being 80+ and not in the best of health had something to do with it.

But following a week-day Mass, again, here in Boston, a reasonably intelligent, thoughtful gentleman opined to me that the Pope had "no right to criticize Islamic violence, given the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, and all that other stuff." When I tried to question him I was advised to "read the New York Times and listen to NPR."

Has anybody heard anything about this from the pulpit? Should we?

I haven't. And I'm wondering why not. Should priests and bishops address the criticism the Holy Father is subjected to? Is the sermon at Mass the appropriate vehicle in which to do this? If not, why not?

Thanks for your thoughts!