.- Cardinal George Pell of Sydney said the violent response to Pope Benedict’s comments about Islam last week justified the concern the Pope had been expressing about the lack of reason which can exist in faith and the use of religion to justify violence.
”The violent reactions ... showed the link for many Islamists between religion and violence, their refusal to respond to criticism with rational arguments, but only with demonstrations, threats, and actual violence," the cardinal-archbishop said in a statement.
Cardinal Pell expressed gratitude that no violence had occurred in Australia in retaliation to the Pope’s comments.
However, he also called the reactions of some Australian Muslim leaders "unfortunately typical and unhelpful."
"It is always someone else's fault, and issues touching on the nature of Islam are ignored," he said. The cardinal said genuine questions about Islam must be addressed and not regularly evaded.
In an op-ed article published Tuesday, he made a further appeal for Christian-Muslim dialogue.
"Accurate information, accurate understandings and a respect for truth, even across differences, are the only long-term bases for fruitful exchanges," the cardinal wrote.
However, Australian Muslim leader Ameer Ali said the cardinal's intervention was not helpful. "Pope Benedict quoted a most inappropriate quote at a most inappropriate time," he said.