At U.N. Council, Prelate Explains Papal Address

Says Speech Must Be Read in Its Totality

GENEVA, SEPT. 19, 2006 ( Benedict XVI’s comments at the University of Regensburg were intended to confirm the rejection of violence in the name of God, a papal representative told the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the U.N. office in Geneva, dedicated the whole of his intervention today to the papal address of Sept. 12 at the University of Regensburg, and expressed his doubts about some disproportionate reactions.

The papal address must be “framed in an appropriate perspective, in a spirit of peaceful and constructive dialogue,” said the prelate as reported by Vatican Radio’s news service.

He said that Benedict XVI, “acknowledging the positive aspects of modernity,” wishes “to enlarge the horizon of reason so that it will include the dimension of religion and, from here, begin a universal dialogue based on reason.”

In this way, added Archbishop Tomasi, it is possible to defend the humanistic value of religious cultures, including Islam.


In regard to the Pope’s quotation taken from a medieval Byzantine emperor, he confirmed that the Holy Father only wished to underline that “violence is always unreasonable” and “incompatible with God’s nature.”

And this “is valid for all believers, including Christians and Muslims,” Archbishop Tomasi stated.

In fact, the Bishop of Rome confirmed personally on Sunday that the quotation about Islam “in no way expresses his personal thoughts.”

That is why, recommended Archbishop Tomasi, the Pope’s address “must be read in its totality.”

It is amazing, the archbishop noted, “that the demonstrations began even before the address was translated into a language understood by the people who went out to demonstrate.”

These demonstrations, he said, were based “only on misleading headlines in the media,” which must “assume its responsibility.”

The path that must be undertaken, concluded the archbishop, calls for “greater knowledge of other creeds and cultures” and he appealed for “genuine dialogue and a future of peace.”

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