Rorate Caeli

No excuse

In a very rainy early afternoon in Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father personally acknowledged that he is "vigorously distressed" by the reactions to misunderstandings regarding a "small passage" of his lecture at the University of Regensburg, which was "considered offensive to the sensitivity of the Muslim faithful", that the "Medieval text" quoted by him did not reflect his personal opinion, and he offered the declaration issued yesterday by the Cardinal Secretary of State as the definitive explanation of his intentions.

He added that the speech must be seen as part of a "frank and sincere dialogue".

Update: the Vatican official translation is presented below, with this substantial mistranslation: "greatly" or "vigorously distressed" or "embittered" (vivamente rammaricato), which the Pontiff said very clearly in the live address, is translated as "deeply sorry". This would not make sense: how would the Pope be "sorry" for the reactions of others!? He could have said he was "sorry" for what he said (which is not what happened); or he could say he is upset, or distressed, or feels personal bitterness for the reactions the "small passage" of his lecture caused; but he would not (and, in fact, did not) say that he is "sorry for the reactions"...

Naturally, the Holy See Press Office hopes the whole mess, which was started by inaccurate soundbites, will be closed by new inaccurate soundbites (such as "I am deeply sorry")... As we said yesterday, it is clear that "the lives and property of countless Christians in Muslim lands could depend on it".

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 Wednesday’s 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.


(Picture: Inside of a Greek Orthodox church in Tulkarm this Sunday, part of the Muslim "frank and sincere dialogue" in the Holy Land.)

Update 2: We see that Father Zuhlsdorf partly shares our disagreement with the simple translation of "rammaricato" as "sorry". We would add that the words were very carefully chosen (as were the words chosen for the Regensburg lecture...) and that there are dozens of truly straightforward ways of simply stating "regret" and of expressing an apology ("sorry") for personal mistakes in Italian.


Update 3: Sister Leonella (Rosa) Sgorbati, a 65-year-old Italian nun, of the Consolata Missionaries, who worked in a hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, was martyred today by Muslim forces (picture provided and hosted by Corriere della Sera). She was also one of four nuns who cared for approximately 400 children in the main orphanage of the city.

Sister Leonella had been in Africa for more than three decades.


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


  2. In reading the Holy Father's statement and the one from the Secretary of State, it is clear from the language that the Holy Father is sorry about the reaction, not the substance of his talk.

    The quote from the Emperor reflects the Holy Father's thought on the divorce of reason (present in Islam) from faith. A divorce in Islam that could have very grave results for all of us in the future. The Holy Father should be supported with prayer as he navigates these dangerous waters.

  3. Pray for the Holy Father.

    I hope he doesn't go to Turkey, I don't trust those people!

  4. Who cares what Muslims think? No apology of any type should've given. The picture says it all.

  5. As we have seen from the voilent reaction to any type of critism, there are those who serve at the altar of the devil and those who serve at the altar of God.

  6. MOGADISHU, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Gunmen shot and killed an Italian nun at a children's hospital in Mogadishu on Sunday in an attack that drew immediate speculation of links to Muslim anger over the Pope's recent remarks on Islam.

  7. The barbarians, the barbarians! What disgraceful state of affairs!

  8. You can read a beautiful specimen of the turkish behaviour on the Pope on the page of the main online turkish newspaper Turkish daily News (editorial of Yusuf Kanli)!!!

    The pius Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos was organising a crusade against the othomans when Europe was very very sick as today. He went in Italy, France also England to support the stop of the turkish violence in the Orient! But he found only interests and ignorance and so 50 years leater Costantinopolis was taken by the monster Maometh II! Let's pray to avoid such a danger from our saint City of Rome in the next years!!! I don't want to see the mid moon on Saint Peter as in 1453 they fix it on the top of Aghia Sofia in Costantinopolis!!!

  9. I asked myself today how often I prayed for the conversion of Muslims - and I decided outside of the Good Friday liturgy I could not really think of a single time. I've decided to add a prayer for them after the recitation of the Holy Rosary.

    This religion scares me more then the Soviet Union ever did. In its extremes it combines irrationality with a penchant for marked cruelty and barbarism.

  10. Why apologise for saying what is true? History bears out the truth about a military leader who led a militaristic onslaught against "non-believers" and hoped one day his religion would dominate the world. To imagine islam spread peacefully by civilised means is pure fantasy.
    No, The Holy Father lacks the confidence that pre-conciliar Popes had about false religions. Only The Roman Catholic Faith has The Truth. When the traditional catechism says such religions are pagan we can trust in this teaching and steer clear of the "darkness of islamism". Modernist thinking has clouded the rationale of The Holy Father. Pope St Pius X would never have compromised on this issue. The post-conciliar papacy is foisted with its own petard - too much "religious liberty" and "the rights of man". Whatever happened to The Rights of Almighty God?

    Bad advice Cardinal Bertone! Bad advice!

  11. So Mack, Pius XII lacked confidence? No doubt you are willing to shed buckets of others blood, but your own?

  12. To be sorry for making a true statement--il Papa is not setting a good example that way.

  13. Our Blessed Lord and the early church never winced in the face of martyrdom - many even prayed for it. How lamentable many modern christians have become such cowards. I actually work in a muslim environment. If they want to put me to death then my faith is in The Blessed Lord. May we endure to whatever end as long as it is holy.

    However, I would not insult them to achieve this end nor hide in my ivory intellectual tower either. Neither have I ever heard one of them insult Christianity in all my time here. The Gospels teach us how to behave in such places. The traditional emphasis on respect for the person is a reliable guide, in this respect.

    Nevertheless, we need a Holy Father who speaks the truth and enlightens our hearts with The Gospel: without ambiguity and without compromise with falsehoods. The time is coming when apologising for being Catholics will no longer cut any ice. You are either on the side of God or Mammon. The Christ admonished those who would try to make friends with the world.

    May The Blessed Lord give us all the faith and fortitude to emulate Him. He did not run & hide from His bloody martyrdom on Earth.

    With or without The Holy Father's current sayings, there is abundant letting of Christian blood in the world. For example, not condemning communism in the 1960s & 1970s did not stop the USSR in its remorseless persecution of The Catholic Church. In the middle and near east, Christianity has almost been wiped out in the face of silence from the west. Silence will not prohibit the blood-letting and neither will misplaced apologies. They only serve to encourage it.

  14. MacK and Tony,

    Go back and read the statement. The Holy Father was not apologizing for the content of his speech, but he is sorry for the reactions of the Muslims. Hell, I'M sorry for the reactions of the Muslims: sorry they're irrational, sorry they can't read, sorry we have to wake up every day and confront the Middle East one more time.

    Pope Benedict XVI does not lack the confidence of pre-conciliar popes. The pope to whom he bears the greatest resemblance (to me, at least) is the great Pius XI.

    I would say that if Pius XII had said as much publicly about the Nazis as Pope Benedict has said about Islam perhaps WWII would have had a different outcome, at least for the millions of innocents who died at the Nazis hands.

  15. Who cares what Muslims think? No apology of any type should've given.

    Yes. Apologising was a mistake.

    The time is coming when apologising for being Catholics will no longer cut any ice.


  16. New Catholic,

    I've noticed you are removing all comments that criticize the Talmud/Judaism. Is that the policy of this blog?

  17. Personally, I think it's a pretty bizarre response to Muslim misbehavior to post criticisms of Judaism and the Talmud.

  18. What does Judaism have to do with Islam? What do both Judaism/Israel and Islam have to do with the papal diplomacy and evangelization? What's the problem with the constant comments posted here that speak of Christianity and Judaism in the same breath as opposed to Islam? Only a Neo-con would ask such questions.

    I have no problem with the critique of Islam, but find it "bizarre" that Judaism or the lawless State of Israel is being exempt from all criticism, when they make up the other half of the equation (along w/evangelicalism and neo-conservatism) in the current melee. Catholics must realize that we have no dog in this fight.

  19. "What's the problem with the constant comments posted here that speak of Christianity and Judaism in the same breath as opposed to Islam? Only a Neo-con would ask such questions."

    So you're saying that you're a Neo-con? (You were the one asking the questions, you know.)

    I think it's pretty hilarious, though, if you think I, or even New Catholic for that matter, are Neo-cons. In the interest of full-disclosure, I'm a Jacobite monarchist. I don't know what New Catholic is, but I'd be pretty shocked if he were a Neo-con.

    "I have no problem with the critique of Islam, but find it 'bizarre' that Judaism or the lawless State of Israel is being exempt from all criticism, when they make up the other half of the equation (along w/evangelicalism and neo-conservatism) in the current melee."

    I'm not aware that Judaism or the secular Jewish state of Israel has ever been exempted from criticism, but I'm also not aware that they have anything to do with the firebombing of the Greek Orthodox Church in Tulkarm or the martyrdom of the nun in Somalia that resulted from the media's misreporting of the Pope's university lecture in Regensburg.

    Don't you think it's kind of odd that you want to change the subject from Muslim misbehavior to Jewish misbehavior? If you don't have a problem with the criticism of Islam (and I don't see why you would), why do you seem to want us spend time in this commentbox criticising Judaism and the Talmud? It's perfectly sensible to talk about Muslim violence in connection with the twisting of the Pope's words, but what have the Jews and the Talmud got to do with the Regensburg lecture?

  20. Remarks about Pope Pius XII and The SWW are idle speculation. As far as I am concerned I agree with many commentators on this topic who beleive he got it just about correct. In any case it is not a situation which is comparable with Pope Benedict XVI's in any way at all. This is a misleading comparison.

    The so-called apology amounts to a pontiff speaking out of both sides of his mouth - you cannot have it both ways - either islam is pagan as the church always taught or it is authentic and salvific as JP II and Benedict XVI appear to believe. Either it was spread by the sword, in which case why any apology? or it was not - then why use the quote from someone else's mouth to pronounce falsehood? Either mohammed was a god-sent prophet or he was a cruel military dictator. Whom did he serve - God or mammon?

    For the answer, I rely on the traditional catechism and on the superabundant teachings of The Church and Sacred Scripture on false religions (and idols in the widest spiritual sense) - and what Almighty God has to say about those who follow them. And what He does to those who persist in the face of the Truth.

  21. Mack you are a superlative Protestant. The difference between you and an adherent of Call to Action is tissue thin. To throw about, with an almost criminal lack of theological insight, the statement accusing JPII and B16 of latitudinarianism demonstrates your abysmal lack of knowledge and how hoplessly you have placed yourself outside of the Catholic Church. You cling to Tradition in the same manner Luther clung to Scripture, you twist it into the triumph of subjectivity. All hail Pope Mack I! Everyman his own pontiff! Maybe you can dig up Father Feeney and make him your secretary of state. You my friend are certainly a relativist and a true heir of the Protestant Reformation.

  22. Moslems and Jews find unity in their hatred of the Church.

    In an official statement presented to Muslim leaders over the weekend, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar expressed sorrow over Pope Benedict XVI's condemnation of Islam.

    "I am very sorry about the deprecating things said against Islam," said Amar, in a letter that seemed to put the blame for the turmoil between Muslims and Christians on the shoulders of the Pope.

    "Our way is to respect all religions, nations and peoples according to their customs," continued Amar. "As the prophet [Micah] said: 'For let all people walk everyone in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.

    "And even when there is a struggle between peoples it is wrong to make it a religious struggle. Love truth and peace.'"

    Fruman passed on Amar's statement to Sheikh Abdala Nimer Darwish, head of the Israeli Islamic Movement's moderate wing who relayed it to Sheikh Yusef Darwish, a popular Muslim leader living in Qatar.

    In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Amar called on both Christians and Muslims to put their differences behind them.

    "These are two religions that have millions of followers," said Amar. "If they start quarreling who knows where it will lead. Both must stop the unnecessary talk and actions."

    Only after being questioned repeatedly was Amar willing to denounce Muslim violence against Churches in the Holy Land.

    "Our Muslim brothers would add respect to their religion if they outdid themselves and overcame the feelings of humiliation."

  23. I return to the Holy Father's original talk and what he said before the customary mindless violent but characteristically significant reaction occurred.

    Well done, your holiness. Many of us support fully your quotation and your inherent criticism of an "evil and inhuman" religion. As a Roman Catholic many of us are not worried about the reaction of those around us who hate you and who resent what you said; who hate the Roman Catholic Church and what She has always consistently represented. You need not express any regret. Please, continue to speak clearly in this way and as a real Roman Catholic pontiff - clearly and unambiguously.

    May Our Blessed Lady protect you and Our Blessed Lord give you the courage to defend and propagate The Faith.

    Indeed, guadaloupe guard has it right - Talmudic jewry and Koranic islam hate Roman Catholic Christianity and want it wiped from the face of the Earth violently or otherwise. To suppreess such comments is to deny reality.

  24. How many churches have the Jews firebombed, or how many nuns have the Jews shot in the back, since they heard the false news reports about Pope Benedict's university lecture?

    Lay off the Jews, you guys. They've got nothing to do with this controversy.

  25. I agree with Jordan Potter, naturally.