Wednesday, October 10, 2007

With news coverage like this...

Who needs enemies? Check out this headline:

Pope attacks Iran at Jewish Congress

This, from the U.K. Times Online, has got to be one of their dumbest, and most incendiary, headlines in a while. Perfect timing, too, since the we're getting close to the anniversary of the pope's ill-timed and ill-phrased remarks on Islam given at Regensburg, Germany during the first year of his pontificate. You'd think the Times was trying to stir up trouble.

Anyone who cares to read the actual story will discover the pope was actually expressing support for Judaism to members of the World Jewish Congress. Even Benedict's quote was third-hand, coming from Maram Stern, secretary general of the World Jewish Congress, who reported that the pope had "recognised the question of Iran as an issue of big concern for him." "Issue of big concern"--that hardly sounds like a direct quote from Benedict (though I don't doubt that the pope expressed support for Israel and for Jews in general).

I imagine, however, that the pope was just as concerned about the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe and especially with Polish priest Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, who heads a Catholic media empire in Poland and has been accused of blatant anti-Semitism. But to read the Times, you'd think the pope had nukes of his own trained on Tehran.

I'm often critical of B16, but I also feel sorry for him sometimes. He generally says carefully nuanced things--whether you agree with him or not--which get translated by all kinds of people into five-word headlines that hardly capture his intent.


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