"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Another thing to like about B16...

And I don't mean the vitamin, which I also acknowledge as a Good Thing.

Apparently, the Pope met secretly last Saturday with Oriana Fallaci, the acerbic Italian author who most recently ran afoul of a court in her country for her highly critical book about Islam's relations with the West. She faces a warrant for her arrest on a hate-crime indictment, which is why she now spends most of her time in New York. Having read the book, I would say that the charge is absurd because, even though it is arguably merited under the applicable law, that law is so broad that its application in a case such as this is a violation of basic human rights. It is probably because the Italian Government is sensitive to such criticism that, even though they doubtless knew of her arrival in Italy, Fallaci was not arrested at the airport. Deference to the Pope probably had something to do with that as well. Kudos all around!

Of course I don't know what was said in that meeting, and probably no more than a handful of people other than Fallaci and Benedict do. But I'm certain the meeting shows at least two things: the Pope's pastoral solicitude for a baptized Catholic whom, even though she now professes atheism, he still considers part of his flock; and his willingness to seek input from people who have no particular Catholic axe to grind. He's evinced the latter with some professional philosophers too; but the problem of Islamic jihadism is very concrete and serious in the world today, and the Pope's remarks during World Youth Day(s) indicate that he is thinking about it with unflinching realism. As if his past didn't prove as much already, this is not a man who shies away from the hard issues just because they are controversial.

As I've said before elsewhere, B16 seems to be just the vitamin for the Church now.
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