Jay Anderson emphasizes parts of a Jeff Israely article on the Apostolic Journey.
Long known for his rigid thinking, Benedict XVI shows new flexibility in trying to mend fences in the wake of his controversial speech about Islam.
Joseph Ratzinger has never been known for his flexibility. As a university theologian and the Vatican’s top doctrinal watchdog, the German prelate consistently stuck to his intellectual guns, sometimes stepping on sensibilities in the process. That unbendable belief in his own truth may have indeed gotten the now Pope Benedict XVI into trouble with his provocative September speech about faith and violence that sparked anger throughout the Muslim world. But the papacy often requires old men to learn new tricks. And so on Tuesday, as he set off on the most delicate mission of his life, the 79-year-old Pontiff was showing a very different side, one that reflects a growing awareness of his new role.
This is the same Jeff Israely that on Sep 13th wrote a very favorable piece on the Pope’s Regensburg address and then on Sep 19th blamed the Pope for not foreseeing the reaction by many in the Muslim world – something he himself didn’t see in his first column.
tmatt at Get Religion also comments on the same article.
The Time piece by Jeff Israely focuses totally on Islam and politics, with little or no content on the original papal goal of pushing for human rights and religious liberty in Turkey (with a special emphasis on the plight of Orthodox Christians). Everything starts with the headline, which is “The Pope Tones Down His Act in Turkey — Long known for his rigid thinking, Benedict XVI shows new flexibility in trying to mend fences in the wake of his controversial speech about Islam.”
No, I didn’t’t make that up. Read the article for yourself.
Must be rigid thinking that makes you emphasize the small part of the story over the actual reason for the Pope’s visit.
The article later goes on to say:
The pope planned to travel to Istanbul later Wednesday to meet Bartholomew I, leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians. The two major branches of Christianity represented by Bartholomew and Benedict split in 1054 over differences in opinion on the power of the papacy. The two spiritual heads will meet in an attempt to breach the divide and reunite the churches.
Which has got to be the lamest analysis of the schism I have ever seen. Bartholomew I is not exactly the head of the Orthodox churches. He is seen as the primus inter pares ("first among equals"), which indicates his seniority among all Orthodox bishops. As Wikipedia notes:
This unique role often sees the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to as the "spiritual leader" of the Orthodox Church in some sources, though this is not an official title of the patriarch nor is it usually used in scholarly sources on the patriarchate. Such a title is not incorrect if it refers to this unique role, but it sometimes leads to a belief that the office is thus the equivalent of an Orthodox papacy, an impression sometimes given from unqualified references in the press. [Emphasis added]