Dialogue with extreme Islam not possible, says Spanish bishop

.- In a pastoral letter this week on the controversy sparked by Pope Benedict’s comments on Islam at the University of Regensburg, Bishop Jesus Sanz of Huesca and Jaca, Spain, said this week it is not possible to dialogue “with the most belligerent strain of extreme Islam—nor similarly with any terrorist group—much less establish any accord.”

Bishop Sanz argued that “alliances between some heterogeneous civilizations are impossible, and the best-case scenario is only that there will be mutual respect, but nothing more.”  He said the Holy Father has not apologized for the words he spoke at Regensburg, “because he did not intend to offend anyone nor did they constitute an offense.”

The Spanish bishop noted that the Pope’s real intention was “to encourage us to soar with those two wings of faith and reason; to soar above our past errors or our present narrow-mindedness.”

“The Pope has only said what any good, sensible person who loves freedom and truth would say,” Bishop Sanz emphasized.  “That religion and violence do not mix, but religion and reason do,” because “faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit is lifted toward the contemplation of the truth.”

“Faith and reason,” he went on, “are not contrary but rather complementary.  However, when faith becomes irrational or reason arrogantly closes itself to the mysterious, “violence in name of a false faith becomes possible, making God an accomplice of every kind of barbarism, or making the ideology of race or nation the pretext for every kind of political, economic or cultural totalitarianism. Such examples abound,” he said.

Bishop Sanz called it “incomprehensible” that someone of the moral stature of the Holy Father, who has “a profound intellect and a great commitment to peace and truth,” would be the target of such a “lukewarm and even vulgar reaction, which we have witnessed in so many people at the political and cultural level in the West.”

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