“Branded an implacable foe of Islam after his landmark Regensburg speech in 2006, Pope Benedict has shown during his current Holy Land tour that he is slowly learning how to dialogue with Muslims.
“While media attention has focussed on Jewish criticism of his speech at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, Benedict’s speeches to Muslims have used classic Islamic terms and new arguments that resonate with Muslims and ease the quest for common ground.
“This new tone may not erase the memory of the Regensburg speech many Muslims took as an insult, because it implied Islam was violent and irrational. But Islamic, Jewish and Catholic clerics told Reuters it marked a shift in his thinking that could help the world’s two largest faiths get along better…”
My analysis for the Reuters wire (read the whole article here) will sound familiar to readers of the blog because I already flagged the ideas here in the posts At Dome of Rock, Benedict uses Muslims’ argument to Muslims and Benedict’s “anti-Regensburg” speech in Amman mosque. But turning these reporters’ observations into an analysis for Reuters requires more than just my observations. So I spent a few hours yesterday calling interfaith dialogue experts to hear their reactions to Benedict’s speeches.
There were a few interesting observations I couldn’t squeeze into the wire story because of the strict length limitations we have there. For example, Fr. Roucou felt that Benedict’s speech at the Dome of the Rock was “a bit too philosophical” because it didn’t have anything specifically Christian in it. “It’s too bad in the speeches to the Muslims that there were no references to Jesus and the Gospels,” he said. “It’s all about the Creator God. That’s fine — I don’t want to get the Gospels in there at any price. But in his speeches to Jews, Benedict quoted the Psalms.”