Fessio clarifies remarks on Pope vis a vis Islam

Father Joseph Fessio, publisher of my magazine Catholic World Report, was on the Hugh Hewitt radio show a couple of weeks ago and quoted some remarks he attributed to Pope Benedict on Islam. Those remarks have started a buzz that threatens to become a firestorm. The latest is in today’s Washington Times, but now Father Fessio is clarifying what he said.

First, this is what the Times reports: “… Pope Benedict XVI is said to believe that Islam is incapable of reform.” Unfortunately, this is not true.

Father Fessio has sent the following letter to the Times:

I think it is important for me to give context to and clarify the remarks I made recently in a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt, reported in the January 20th Washington Times.

The most important clarification is that the Holy Father did not say, nor did I, that “Islam is incapable of reform”.

What I did say—and it contains an unfortunate ambiguity—is that “in the Islamic tradition, God has given His word to Mohammed, but it’s an eternal word. It’s not Mohammed’s word. It’s there for eternity the way it is. There’s no possibility of adapting it or interpreting it, whereas in Christianity, and Judaism, the dynamism’s completely different, that God has worked through His creatures.”

Read the rest of the letter

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