Spiegel magazine interviews Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity:
SPIEGEL: Why is dialogue with Islam so difficult for the Catholic Church?
Kasper: There is no such thing as one Islam. The Koran is ambiguous and Islam is not a monolithic entity. The distinction between radical Islam and moderate Muslims is important, as are the differences between Sunnis and Shiites, and between militant and mystical Islam. Islam in the Arab world coexists with Indonesian, Pakistani and Turkish Islam. There is limited solidarity, even within the Arab world. Muslims living among us (in Germany) haven’t managed to build an organization that represents all Muslims. Such an organization could protect us against irrational fantasies driven by fear, fantasies that completely demonize Islam. But it is difficult, under the current circumstances, to find representative counterparts to talk with.
SPIEGEL: Do you think a dialogue on equal footing is possible?
Kasper: One cannot be naïve when engaging in this dialogue. Islam undoubtedly deserves respect. It has some things in common with Christianity, such as Abraham as a common progenitor, and the belief in only one God. But Islam developed in opposition to orthodox Christianity from the very start, and it considers itself superior to Christianity. So far, it has only been tolerant in places where it is in the minority. Where it is the majority religion, Islam does not recognize religious freedom, at least not as we understand it. Islam is a different culture. This doesn’t mean that it’s an inferior culture, but it is a culture that has yet to connect with the positive sides of our modern Western culture: religious freedom, human rights and equal rights for women. These shortcomings are one reason so many Muslims feel such frustration that often turns into hatred and violence against the West, which is despised as being godless and decadent. Suicide attacks are the actions of losers who have nothing left to lose. In this case, Islam serves as a mask, a cover for desperation and nihilism, but not for religion.
[Via Insight Scoop]
My question is what did Pope Benedict do with the real Cardinal Kasper and where did he find such a sharp the look-a-like? All I know is I haven’t found anything slightly annoying in what the Cardinal has had to say since the Pope’s election.