Pope and Regensburg:"every cloud has a silver lining"...
Monsignor Peter Fleetwood, an expert on inter-faith dialogue, tackles some of the most awkward moments of Pope Benedict's pontificate placing incidents such as the so-called 'Regensburg' incident into context:
"... the Pope used, I have to say, a very unusual example to prove a very valid point and that point was lost by most people when they got stuck on the example that the Pope used. He spoke of an emperor who had seen only violence wherever Islam went. The whole point of his address that day was to say that religion should be a way of life that includes the possibility to dialogue logically, calmly with other points of view, other convictions...Otherwise it has to impose itself by violence and that's his whole worry. And it continued a discussion he'd had with a German philosopher some years previously in Munich, the philosopher Jürgen Habermas, when they both were talking about how reason and religion relate to each other. and the Pope said that there are undoubtedly pathologies in reason which cannot cope with religion. It just is cutting out part of the human experience and he said likewise there are pathologies in religious behaviour which cannot accept discussion and openness to dialogue. So he was really continuing that whole discussion or summing it up in a sense when he was speaking in Regensburg but it all got lost and terrible things happened as a result. But I think it's true to say that every cloud has a silver lining in as much as the reaction of angry Muslims around the world crystallised at one level, at the theological level in 132 or 138 with Muslim scholars getting together, writing to the Pope and saying how can we move forward from this because it's not a good way for us to be. So as they were terrible things immediately as a result of what people heard in Regensburg it did lead to, actually strangely, a deeper level of dialogue at the official level..."...
In this interview Monsignor Fleetwood is also asked by Veronica Scarisbrick whether he believes clarity is one of the hallmarks of this German Pontiff's pontificate:
"... I have heard people say that thousands of people used to come to see Pope John Paul II, people come in even greater numbers to hear Pope Benedict. He's a great teacher, a great speaker a great writer. I don't think everyone has to agree with every syllable of what he writes, as he himself said when writing those remarkable books on Jesus Christ...I'm writing this as an individual, as a theologian. Please don't read them as the words of the Pope, they are the words of the theologian Joseph Ratzinger. So he's very much interested in getting a message across and I think he's done that very successfully when he's been writing and when he's been giving prepared speeches but sometimes, like any academic, he cannot be summed up in sound bites so he's a bit difficult for the press I imagine. However even given that I think you're right he is a clear speaker most of the time ..."
Vatican Radio (Feb. 27, 2013)