It seems to me that CathNews.com is spinning Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks at the 2006 St Egidio conference For a World of Peace, Religions and culture in dialogue. This is the 20th anniversary of the same conference in Assisi that has so many radical traditionalist up in arms. Not their has been some valid critiques of the original conference including then-Cardinal Ratzinger. Back to the my original question CathNews reports.
Pope Benedict thus also took the opportunity to note that the original inter-faith meeting organised by the Community of St Egidio avoided any "streaks of syncretism" and its successors needed to continue to do so.
From what I have read of the remarks in other sources it certainly does not appear that syncretism was mentioned in a context saying the that the first meeting avoided them. AsiaNews.it quotes the Pope as saying.
…Already in 1986, continued Benedict XVI, attention was drawn to the fact that “the inter-faith prayer meeting should not lend itself to syncretistic interpretations, founded on a relativistic concept.”
Pope Ratzinger did not mention them but at the time, and even later, there were controversies about this. It was probably these controversies that prompted the pope to emphasize, when greeting people attending events in Assisi organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio, “the duty” even now to “avoid inopportune confusions. This is why even when people come together to pray for peace, prayer should unfold according to the distinct journeys that belong to each religion. This was the choice of 1986 and it was a decision that cannot but remain valid still today. The convergence of what is different should not give the impression of ceding to that relativism that denies the very meaning of truth and the possibility of drawing from it.”
What the Pope said and goes on to say does not seem to be any kind of pass on the original meeting and was more a kindly rebuke of passed excesses. The Pope is not directly saying that the first meeting was syncretistic, but he is not giving it a pass that CathNews alleges. This is a continual correction and the Pope last year placed the Franciscans in Assisi under the threefold control of a new local bishop, the Italian Bishops Conference and a yet-to-be-named papal overseer.
This is not the first time that I have noticed the Australian CathNews spinning things and I suspect it won’t be the last.