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. This is the meaning of the discourse.
The BBC, always unfailing in its efforts to broadcast the Muslim sentiment around the world, reports that the Pope's apology has placated some, but not very many.
Sandro Magister has a piece with a fine summary of events. He concludes with these paragraphs dealing with the trip to Turkey and reason:
One the other hand, there is growing hostility in the Turkish media toward everything that is Western, European, and Christian. Secular opinion is outstripped by opinion with an Islamist imprint, which is increasingly more combative. An extremely mediocre book of political fiction published in Turkey at the end of August and written by a journalist who specializes in intrigues, Yücel Kaya, has had spectacular commercial success. The title says it all: “Attack on the Pope: Who Will Kill Benedict XVI in Istanbul?”
The Turkish chapter is the first one against which the new Vatican foreign minister, Mamberti, must test himself.
As for Benedict XVI, he knows that he hasn’t made his trip to Turkey any easier. But it is the pope’s firm conviction that a visit prepared and carried out only under the shield of reticence, silence, purely ceremonial dialogue, and submission would have done more harm than good – both to the Church and to the Muslim world.
But if everyone takes seriously in hand, and reads from beginning to end, the hymn to reason that he raised in Regensburg... Because at bottom, in the view of Benedict XVI, the heart of the question is always the same one that the emperor of Constantinople and his learned Persian counterpart discussed in 1391: “Not acting according to reason is contrary to the nature of God.”
And finally, al-Qaeda, having nothing better to do with its spare time while not battling it out in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world through its various affiliates in its ongoing jihad against the United States of America and the West in general, has threatened jihad over the Pope's remarks.