I suspect benedict XVI will come unsder some criticism for his speech at the inter-religious meeting, but I think the symbolism was actually pretty clear. This is captured here.
The picture says more about the organizers of the meeting than it does about the pope.
I agree, Im sure there is a big stink being made about this issue somewhere in these forums.
From what I saw though the Pope did all the talking and I didnt hear anything that would go against the faith.
I am sure the pope was involved in organizing the forum. It is likely that he stated what the format would be. My understanding is that he has limits on interfaith type dialogue. For sure he supports it, but “in the spirit of truth”. Ie…, no pandering, etc.
No, he was pretty clear that he was proposing [to the other religions] Jesus Christ. I.e., there was an evangelical dimension to his address to the audience.
While on the subject of interesting observations… my husband and I were having dinner with our dinner club friends – some of whom are not Catholic – when it was mentioned that the Pope did not attend the State Dinner when he was in Washington. Does anyone know why? Isn’t that kind of limpolite when the President whent thru all the trouble of arranging a suitable dinner, etc? Just curious.
Though he is technically head of State fo the Vatican, I think it is more appropriate for Msgr. Bertone to attend something like that. This was not a political visit.
John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter addressed this in a column called Rumor Control.
- The Pope is “snubbing” President Bush by not attending a White House dinner in his honor.
In fact, the pope virtually never attends gala events organized in his honor by other parties, especially while he’s on the road. Basically speaking, when the pope travels he commits to following his official agenda, no more and no less.
This time around, for example, it’s not just the White House that’s throwing a party for the pope without the guest of honor. The Italian Embassy to the United States is also hosting a birthday bash organized by former and current U.S. ambassadors to the Holy See. Once again, the Holy Father is not expected to attend.
Rumors, therefore, that Benedict XVI has “spurned” an invitation from Bush on the basis of some specific policy difference – out of protest over the Iraq war, for example, or debates over the use of “torture” – seriously over-interpret this standard bit of papal operating procedure.
Of course, Benedict XVI is committed to staying above the American political fray, and that might provide an additional incentive to steer clear of events that could be interpreted as having a political overtone.
Nonetheless, the bottom line on the White House bash is that if you’re going to a party with the pope, it’s almost always going to be on his turf and at his invitation.