Wednesday, August 13, 2008

South Ossetia IV

Tip of the hat to TitusOneNine for this blog post and link to the column.

George Pitcher's words in the Telegraph (scroll down a bit):

Pope Benedict XVI managed, from his holiday in the Italian Alps, to call for an "immediate" end to hostilities in South Ossetia and urged negotiations between Russia and Georgia over the contested province.

But it sounded like a rebuke to two squabbling children, not a plea for an end to a bloodbath, and carefully made no reference to the wider incursion into Georgia.

Not only will politicians, such as Gordon Brown and his foreign secretary, David Miliband, not break their holidays, but the Pope won't leave his ski chalet either.

But it's worth noting, for all the talk of unity between Christians when Anglicans bicker about their internal divisions, or Catholics talk of irreconcilable divisions over women priests, that when Christian unity really matters, an ecumenical Church is nowhere to be seen.

While I have neither the time nor the inclination to defend the slew of politicians whom Mr. Pitcher lists in his column, I do think that his words regarding the Holy Father's actions thus far are a bit unfair. Rereading Benedict's words now, they do seem rather pale compared to the condemnations from the US, but I wonder what Mr. Pitcher expects an octogenarian to do in the face of the KGB man Putin and his oil-funded army?

The pope's only weapon is his office's reputation for even-handedness. While condemning Russia directly would have been well and good, I doubt Mr. Putin would have batted an eye given the fact that he seems not at all publicly intimidated by the likes of the United States.

1 comment:

Louis E. said...

Lavrov's remarks that the world community should "forget about" the territorial integrity of Georgia are especially discouraging...see today's AP stories.Putin seems determined to reclaim the "Evil Empire" designation from the Communist Chinese...