Commentary on social and moral issues of the day

The Pope's Easter

Daniel Henninger

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Benedict XVI takes on the excesses of secularization and radical Islam.

If we still hold that the news reflects reality, we would be led to believe that Christians enter these final three days of Holy Week preoccupied with whether to credit the new Gospel of Judas that the hallowed National Geographic Society delivered unto the world this month, and whether to attend the imminent film version of "The Da Vinci Code," purporting that the Vatican has covered up Jesus' marriage to Mary Magdalene. My guess is that on this Easter Pope Benedict XVI, the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, feels he has larger fish to fry than the marital status of Jesus. He did, however, in his Holy Thursday homily yesterday pointedly demote Judas for whom "only power and success are realities."

To a surprising extent, the pope's world is our world. His problems are the same problems that bedevil the political life of the United States: violence against the innocent under the cloak of Islam, the disdain of Old Europe, establishing an acceptable price for doing business with China, the pain of Africa's genocides and epidemics. These issues inhabit the public square, and inevitably through history the world's largest, centrally organized religion has faced onto that square.

Now comes a new kind of mosque. And this pope knows it.

Each January the pope delivers a formal address to the diplomatic corps attached to the Holy See. This year Benedict gave his first. Read the following and watch the religious wheat separated from the terrorist chaff:

"Attention has rightly been drawn to the danger of a clash of civilizations," said Benedict. "The danger is made more acute by organized terrorism, which has already spread over the whole planet. Its causes are many and complex, not least those to do with political ideology, combined with aberrant religious ideas. Terrorism does not hesitate to strike defenseless people, without discrimination, or to impose inhuman blackmail, causing panic among entire populations, in order to force political leaders to support the designs of the terrorists. No situation can justify such criminal activity, which covers the perpetrators with infamy, and it is all the more deplorable when it hides behind religion, thereby bringing the pure truth of God down to the level of the terrorists' own blindness and moral perversion."

Moral perversion? We indeed have a pope, one, it appears, who won't pull his punches, and one who like the rest of us just now must contemplate the meaning of Flight 93's hijackers driving a passenger airliner to earth while chanting, "Allah is the greatest."

Read the entire article on the Wall Street Opinion Journal website (new window will open).


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