Sunday, September 17, 2006

Those unfortunate Papal remarks - the responsible approach

I find it extraordinary that the liberal press and media in Britain have published the full details of the Pope's remarks about Islam, inluding the words that gave such offence ("evil and inhuman" ), and the original source of those words: Manual II Palaeologus (1350-1425). Going into such detail and - indeed - repeating the offensive words themselves can, surley, only inflame the situation and add to the hurt and distress that these crude and provocative words have already caused.

Surely the correct approach would be something like the following:

"We defend free speech in principle. But that does not mean that we defend the right to cause gratuitous offence. In that sense the Pope's words were an abuse of free speech and we will not, therefore, be publishing what he said. But we can assure our readers that it was highly offensive, and should not have been said. While we condemn some of the excessive, and possibly even cynically orchestrated reaction to these words, the fact remains that they were provative and irresponsible words. And not even very well-delivered or learned. Tou will have to take our word for that, of course, but we can assure you that we have read and it is much too offensive for you to read it and make up your own minds. So just trust us, the fearless liberal media of Britain."


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