|Radical Islamic mobs, organized to attack the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on the 11th anniversary of the Twin Towers massacre, drag the dead body of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens from the consulate after he was murdered. |
Responding to mob violence against US embassies in Libya and Egypt, which led to the deaths of four American diplomats, the director of the Vatican press office released a statement condemning “provocations against the sensibilities of Muslim believers.”
The statement by Father Federico Lombardi did not include a condemnation of the killings in Benghazi, Libya, or the burning of American flags in Cairo. Instead he focused on offenses against Islam. The Muslim mobs were reportedly outraged by reports of a film, produced by an obscure American, that criticized Islam.
With Pope Benedict XVI preparing to travel to the Middle East this weekend amid mounting tensions in the region, the papal spokesman stressed that the Pope would bring a “message of dialogue and respect for all believers of different religions.” The statement from Father Lombardi, in its entirety, read:
Profound respect for the beliefs, texts, outstanding figures and symbols of the various religions is an essential precondition for the peaceful coexistence of peoples. The serious consequences of unjustified offence and provocations against the sensibilities of Muslim believers are once again evident in these days, as we see the reactions they arouse, sometimes with tragic results, which in their turn nourish tension and hatred, unleashing unacceptable violence.Several hours later, Lombardi's office "walked back" its first statement, appending these comments to its evaluation of events on the ground in Libya:
The message of dialogue and respect for all believers of different religions, which the Holy Father is preparing to carry with him on his forthcoming trip to Lebanon, indicate the path that everyone should follow in order to construct shared and peaceful coexistence among religions and peoples.
"The very serious attack organised against the United States diplomatic mission in Libya, which led to the death of the ambassador and of other functionaries, calls for the firmest possible condemnation on the part of the Holy See. Nothing, in fact, can justify the activity of terrorist organisations and homicidal violence."
Does Apostolic Victor of Tripoli Understand the Meaning of Free Speech?
From Libya, Bishop Giovanni Martinelli, the apostolic vicar of Tripoli, told Vatican Insider that Western countries should have the “courage” to ban “all blasphemous projects” and establish “a policy that is respectful of religion.” We respectfully suggest the works of Saint Robert Bellarmine as a good starting point for Bishop Martelli's study of why the American system of government does not condone government-arbitration of what constitutes blasphemy.