Statement of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

20 Sep 2006




On Sunday, 17th September, Archbishop Martin responded to questions from journalists
concerning the speech of Pope Benedict in Regensburg and the subsequent reactions
from various Islamic groups and individuals.  

Archbishop Martin stated that the Pope’s comments needed to be seen in context.  He
drew attention to the Pope’s words at the Angelus in Castelgondolfo earlier that morning
and said that he would hope “that people who heard him will see exactly what his
sentiments are and that they will respect his genuine sense of regret that what he
said was interpreted as offensive.” The Archbishop said: “The important thing is to
move forward. Pope Benedict has appealed for frank and open dialogue and that’s the
important thing we should all be moving towards at this stage.”

Dr Martin said he hoped that Irish Muslims would understand that the Pope’s intentions
were positive. “We’ve got a good and important Islamic community in Ireland and relations
here have been very good.”

Statement ends.

The text of Pope Benedicts comments at the Angelus, Sunday, 17 September 2006, follows:

The Pastoral visit which I recently made to Bavaria was a deep spiritual experience,
bringing together personal memories linked to places well known to me and pastoral
initiatives towards an effective proclamation of the Gospel for today.  I thank God
for the interior joy which he made possible, and I am also grateful to all those who
worked hard for the success of this Pastoral Visit.  As is the custom, I will speak
more of this during next Wednesday’s General Audience.  At this time, I wish also to
add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of
my address at my University of Regensberg, which were considered offensive to the
sensibility of Muslims.  These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which
do not in any way express my personal thought.  Yesterday, the Cardinal Secretary of
State published a statement in this regard in which he explained the true meaning of
my words.  I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning
of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere
dialogue, with great mutual respect.  This is the meaning of the discourse.

Text from comments of Pope Benedict at papal audience on Wednesday, 20th September:

In Munich’s central square, I implored the Virgin’s blessing upon the whole world.
The following day I spoke of a certain difficulty in hearing God in a secular world
which needs so much the Gospel’s message of hope. At Altötting we reflected on Mary’s
generosity in accepting God’s will, recalling how she guides us towards Jesus. Returning
to the theme of the visit, I noted in Regensburg that the Father wishes to gather all
humanity into one family, the Church. Here, at the University where for many years I
had taught, I spoke on the relationship between faith and reason. I included a quotation
on the relationship between religion and violence. This quotation, unfortunately, lent
itself to possible misunderstanding. In no way did I wish to make my own the words
of the medieval emperor. I wished to explain that not religion and violence, but
religion and reason, go together. I hope that my profound respect for world religions
and for Muslims, who “worship the one God” and with whom we “promote peace, liberty,
social justice and moral values for the benefit of all humanity” (Nostra Aetate, 3),
is clear. Let us continue the dialogue both between religions and between modern reason
and the Christian faith!