Monday, September 18, 2006

An extraordinary mea culpa by the Pope

The pope is the spiritual head of the Catholic Church and he is also the Head of State of the Vatican City, and independent city state nation enclaved by Rome in Italy.

The pope on Sunday apologised in person for the angry Muslim reaction to his comments on Islam. Pope Benedict XVI said that his quote from a 14th century Christian Byzantine emperor did not reflect his personal opinion.

Many people have described that the pope's public apology is something unheard of in a pontiff's living memory.

Just minutes after saying he was "deeply sorry" to the Muslim world yesterday, the Pope quoted from St Paul on the meaning of the cross. Speaking in Italian he cited Paul, saying "we preach the crucified Christ - a scandal for the Jews, a folly for the pagans".

Jewish representatives expressed surprise. Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, a member of the board of the Council of Christians and Jews, set up to counter prejudice between religions and races, said: "The Pope has every right to quote his own holy texts, but it may be unwise in the current climate to choose those which relate to other faiths."

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