Ill leave hunting down profound responses to the Popes very smart disquisition to Peter L., but I couldnt resist linking to Anne Applebaums column this morning (which is politically smart, but not deep). A taste:
[N]othing the pope has ever said comes even close to matching the vitriol, extremism and hatred that pour out of the mouths of radical imams and fanatical clerics every day, all across Europe and the Muslim world, almost none of which ever provokes any Western response at all. And maybe its time that it should: When Saudi Arabia publishes textbooks commanding good Wahhabi Muslims to "hate" Christians, Jews and non-Wahhabi Muslims, for example, why shouldnt the Vatican, the Southern Baptists, Britains chief rabbi and the Council on American-Islamic Relations all condemn them -- simultaneously?
Maybe its a pipe dream: The day when the White House and Greenpeace can issue a joint statement is surely distant indeed. But if stray comments by Western leaders -- not to mention Western films, books, cartoons, traditions and values -- are going to inspire regular violence, I dont feel that its asking too much for the West to quit saying sorry and unite, occasionally, in its own defense. The fanatics attacking the pope already limit the right to free speech among their own followers. I dont see why we should allow them to limit our right to free speech, too.
Of course, our capacity for response has long molded by the culture of victimhood, in which the offended complain and the offenders apologize. Think the complainers around the world might be at least vaguely aware of that?