An Al Jazeera Editor Lauds John Paul II


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"He Seemed Very Human to My Eyes"

ROME, APRIL 9, 2006 ( An editor with the Al Jazeera television station has praise for John Paul II, contending that he was "not only the Pope of Catholics."

Imad El Atrache, editor in chief of the Brussels' office of the Mideast-based Al Jazeera, made that comment at a congress entitled "John Paul II: Religious Event, Television Event."

The congress, which ended Friday, was organized by Italian Public Radio and Television at the Gregorian University.

"His embrace of all peoples, regardless of their creed, made his figure surpass the boundaries of his Church, making John Paul II, according to our Muslim journalistic language, no longer the Pope of Catholics but simply 'the Pope,'" explained El Atrache.

(my emphasis)

"He began his pontificate saying in Italian: 'If I make a mistake, you will correct me.' In this way, he seemed very human to my eyes," explained the journalist who previously worked in the Arab station's external relations.

"It was such an ingenuous and clever phrase that it reversed everything: The Pope who is the guide of the faithful was allowing himself to be led by them, solely and exclusively to guide them better," El Atrache observed.

Truth about man

"I, who am first a Muslim and then a journalist, was fascinated by this Pope, that is, by a Pope who respected profoundly the truth about man, which is expressed in the religious sense," the journalist continued.

"All men who accept and have something of the transcendent in their creed … honor the truth about man and, therefore, according to John Paul II, at the same time honor Jesus Christ, who is the truth about man," he added.

El Atrache added: "In Morocco [in 1985] in a stadium with 45,000 youths, the Pope said that Muslims and Christians can collaborate based on the same God of love. But at the same time he did not hide the great and profound difference that exists between them, regarding the person of Jesus and his role in the history of salvation."


Well, according to Muslim, Buddhist, Orthodox Christian and other sources so far, he's building on JPII's foundation...

Remember that most of what we're fed is from a media that doesn't like BXVI because he's a philosopher and an intellectual — the media is inherently suspicious of intelligent people — and because he didn't go off like a bull in a china shop as they had hoped — remember he was branded the 'Vatican Rotweiller' before his election.

Monday, October 22, 2007: afp :
Pope urges ‘reconciliation’ for world religion meeting,
Says religions should never be made vehicles of hate

NAPLES: Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday urged “reconciliation among peoples” ahead of a religious summit in Naples.

“With respect for the differences between the various religions, we are all called to work for peace and reconciliation among peoples,” Benedict said in the meeting with leading Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Anglican, Orthodox and other Christian figures. The meeting is the largest inter-faith dialogue he has held as pope. “In the face of a world torn by conflicts where violence is sometimes justified in the name of God, it is important to reiterate that religions can never become vehicles of hate,” said the 80-year-old pontiff. “To the contrary, religions can and should offer precious resources to build a peaceful humanity - especially where tensions are strongest, freedom and respect for others is denied and men and women suffer the consequences of intolerance and incomprehension,” he said.

Some 200 participants at the annual Sant’Egidio community peace meeting include Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Israel’s chief rabbis Yona Metzger and the imam of the United Arab Emirates, Ibrahim Ezzeddin.

He has improved from his rocky start...Although I don't believe it is he that has changed, it appears his advisers and the world have indicated his beliefs won't be tolerated and he had to step upto the plate...or his continued comments would have repercussions which the Vatican and the Catholics were not ready for...

Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hi Wil —

I still tend to think the College of Cardinals knew who they were voting for when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected. I might also add that whilst the wiki account tells one side of ther story, support for him and for speaking out with the authentic voice of his faith, continues apace. No doubt the leaders of all the world's religions were more upset by the greater damage done by the actions of the media in engineering a crisis (that cost a nun her life in the first 24 hours of hysteria) than in his words.

I can however understand that liberal elements within the Church might have dusted off their tin hats with his election.

As I recall, the West wasn't too enamoured of a Polish Pope, with the fear of a rightwing hardline conservativism of Eastern Europe ascending the throne of St Peter. Time proved them wrong. I believe they will be proved wrong again.

Another contender, and my second choice, would have been Carindal Schörnborn, if only on his recollections on the Catechism produced in the wake of Vatican II. It seemed the Church elected not just for a theologian in the JPII vein, but a true heavyweght, someone capable of taking on the all-pervading secular philosophy of Relativism that lies at the root of the crisis in Western culture. As Cardinal Ratzinger it was central to his critique of Western secularism.

Ratzinger possesses the philosphical charism of intellectual rigour, and of not stepping back from the often-hard truth. It is a mark of his wisdom that the media has to resort to his childhood, to misquotation and to out-of-context reference to stir the waters.

He is certainly not everyone's cup of tea. I like mine sweet, but I do like it strong, hence my love of the Patristics and philosophy generally.

It is my belief that he is sewing the seeds for the future regeneration, both spiritually (ongoing since VII) and intellectually (likewise) ... his first Epistle, on Love, is a masterpiece that is largely ignored, and the second soon-to-be-released on Hope, will probably receive the same silence of incomprehensibility in the media. A third, waiting in the wings, on Social Justice, might stir up more reaction.

Whatever, to grow anything one must prepare the ground first. This often involves breaking the ground, and that is what I believe is happening now. Pope Benedict has raised his voice in a truly ecumenical cry ... not pointing to the differences between us (nor ignoring them), but to what is axiomatic to us all. The meaning of life.

What the media might focus on is his constant call to all religions to stand firm by their inherent human values — whatever the difference of our eschatalogical vision — that insist on the common dignity of the human being and the value of life generally.

As Europe struggles to install a constitution that completely ignores and dismisses her spiritual, philosophical and cultural heritage in the pursuit of the chimera of multiculturalism (another meaningless nonsense of relativism), Pope Bendict is, one might suppose, ceaselessly working toward a unity of the three great Western Traditions who collectively and in concert can face down this travesty that would foist upon us an invented history akin to Orwell's Newspeak of 1984. If we fail, Abraham, Moses, Christ and Mohammed, not to mention Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, will be rendered an often unfortunate and somewhat inconsequential sideshow.

Seems a bit outspoken? I think you're in the US and perhaps further from European affairs. I for one cannot see how we can steer our way forward if we cannot take bearings on where we have come from — our course of action will be ever be determined by contingency and accidence — by opinion polls and soundbites. To don rose-coloured spectacles with respect to the past in no longer an excuse. As the philosopher said, "He who ignores history is destined to repeat it."

Anyway ... you know me by now ... the one thing my theological education is instilling in me is a relish for the challenge. I do believe its awakening an incipent Celtic Christianity that in a certain way regards the call of Faith as a call to pit ourselves against a glorious adventure ... we always built our churches in the most inhospitable places.

Namaste Thomas great and thoughtful response.

I'd be willing to bet that he'll have more 'moments'.

But I'd also bet that he'll grow due to the responsibility of the station.

You are correct in the concern with JPII and if this one follows that growth curve...he'll reset the bar even higher.

Something else has occurred in the middle east...that is pertinent to your title, and OP.

It seems Al Jazeera has also been risen due to the responsibility of their station. Whilst they still receive the most radical of information, what they produce is becoming more newsworthy and not so biased and sensationalized.
My church doesn't recognize the Pope, but I believe John Paul II was a very righteous person. Although, I have my doubts how Benedict can live up to his memory. He just seems to be undoing all the great things that John Paul II worked so hard for so far.