Pope's Comments at White House

At the White House this morning, Pope Benedict spoke of freedom being a "summons to personal responsiblity" in his brief remarks.

He called for the "cultivation of virtue, self discipline, sacrifice for the common good." No mention of the Iraq war. He did say that America's concern for the "greater human family" will support the "patient efforts of international diplomacy to resolve conflicts and promote progress.

It remains to be seen Iraq it comes up in the private meeting with Bush. He has, to put it mildly, been skeptical of the U.S. involvement in the war.

By Jacqueline L. Salmon |  April 16, 2008; 10:46 AM ET
Previous: Students Greet Pope With 'Happy Birthday' | Next: 'Such a Cute Pope'


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I think it is more correct to say he was very very skeptical of the Iraq invasion. It is hinted at in the news broadcast butI think the news media needs to make clearer that is not clear that the Vatican is calling for a rapid withdrawal of US troops from IRaq.
Especailly in light of the latest US Bishops statement

Posted by: jh | April 16, 2008 11:21 AM

"Don't mention the war!"

Or guns, or DC voting rights, or constitutional incompetency, or American Idol ...

Posted by: Hah! | April 16, 2008 12:08 PM

The Pontieff stresses virtue,self-discipline and common good et al. Such ethics and morality in life can be found in Confucianism and in the pronouncements of the leaders in China as well. There will be reconciliation of Vatican and China soon since China is the most populous nation in the world. Even though China has a small number of Christians but positive attitude in life is universal in the ecumenical concept for unity of humankind as we are all children of God regardless of race,color,creed and national origin apropos of universal catholicity to cover all folks on earth.Nobody would impugn,indeed! April 16, 2008

Posted by: francis Shieh | April 16, 2008 1:19 PM

The Humanist Manifesto provides a moral code for all humans without the overarching demands for perpetual self-sacrifice.

Posted by: Alan | April 16, 2008 1:41 PM

If the Pope represents God then the meeting is a chance for Bush to repent for having sent 500,000+ souls to crowd Heaven. But the Devil is always right in his oWn MinD.

Posted by: larry | April 16, 2008 2:14 PM

The High Lite of Bush Presidency. The brief Messages of Hope and Freedom with Responsibility given by President Bush followed by the Pope were were framed in Sacret and uplifting Music, Glorious weather and the largest White House Lawn audience ever. The 1/2 hour cerimony was long on substance and good will. Welcome Pope Benedict XVI and Happy Birthday. The President and wife Laura did a Stellar in welcoming the Pope. G'd Bless the Pope and G'd Bless America. This was a Spritual Program with a Spritual Message that we Pray will be a Blessing for the Nation and the World.

Posted by: Fareed | April 16, 2008 2:14 PM

Recall that when Joseph Ratzinger was first in contention to become Pope so much controversy surrounded his appointment. Many bitter wounds, wounds that any religion can foster, contributed to this controversy. In so many ways, this wrongly colored an individual who should be given so much more credit.

I'm not Catholic, but I am Christian, and am very fond of "going to the source," when it comes to intellectual or spiritual assessments. So I read Pope Benedict's book, "Jesus of Nazareth." Though some call it particularly heady, and a bit obtuse, I was in my element reading this book, and found quite the opposite. I found a discourse on the mystery and the humanity of Jesus Christ united in both perspective and in imminence--the living Christ, God's pervasive presence, the portrait of which no mere faker or charlatan or despot or archaic mouthpiece could convey. Instead Pope Benedict's words are the words of one intimately connected and devoted to the source, whose actions in wiritng, teaching, speaking reveal him as one uniquely qualified to fulfill his purpose in leadership of both Church and faith.

Benedict's loving portrayal inspired in me that kind of reconversion to the faith that is felt when all sincere devotees quietly, humbly share their voice in service to something greater, utterly stepping out of the way, an unassuming conduit of the Divine's mysterious work.

I truly feel this wonderful man has so much to share and to teach us, all who would open their hearts to feel, and their ears to listen. Of course the chattering class will chatter, themselves fulfilling a purpose, and revealing their own service, their own faith to this or to that. Blind spots abound, but the light yet shines, and it shines through this Pope at this moment. For that I praise God.

In Christian Love,

Lindsay Howerton

Posted by: Lindsay Howerton | April 16, 2008 2:21 PM

Pope's Comments at White House
At the White House this morning, Pope Benedict spoke of freedom being a "summons to personal responsiblity" in his brief remarks.

He called for the "cultivation of virtue, self discipline, sacrifice for the common good."
By Jacqueline L. Salmon | April 16, 2008; 10:46 AM ET
By Jacqueline L. Salmon | April 16, 2008; 10:46 AM ET


"Something must change here," Pope John Paul II stated while visiting Haiti in March 1983. Certainly, the Holy Father was referring to the state of repression in that country, but he was doubtless also alluding to something vaster and deeper, a change of attitude on the part of the West toward the Negro world.


The White House announced the fall of both President Jean-Claude Duvalier and General Raoul Cédras before they even occurred. Does that not reveal foreknowledge of their downfall? Was it not a brutal way of telling the Haitian people that, like their ancestors, their future depends on their Western masters? Through its past and present actions, has not the United States always shown itself to be the only true master of that island, with the Duvaliers and other dictators being no more than Uncle Sam's docile "tools?"

The problem of repressive regimes like those of the Duvaliers, Cédras, etc., is actually no more than the consequences of a vaster, much deeper problem which motivates the conscious and unconscious attitudes of the so-called Christian world in relation to the Black world.

On this topic, a French scholar, Roger Bastide, wrote: "The great Christian dichotomy is the one between black and white. White is supposed to express purity and black, evil. That means the opposition of Christ and Satan, spiritual and carnal life, good and evil, which finally amounts to that. opposition between whiteness and blackness which supersedes all the others. Even for the blind person who knows nothing but night's darkness, words uttered or heard suffice to create the dance of devils, as they do for the sighted: "a black soul", "the blackness of an action", "dark deeds", "the innocent whiteness of the lily", "the candor of a child", "to whitewash a crime", etc. These are not just nouns and adjectives."

Whiteness refers to light, the ascension into lightness, to untouched, immaculate snow, to the flight of the Holy Ghost's doves, to clear transparency, while blackness remains the landscape of Hell, the color of the devil, the bowels of the earth, infernal lava. This word-idea association functions automatically, since our thought processes are so enslaved to our language, whenever a white man is in contact with a black man. Mario de Andrade justly denounced the evil effects of that Christian symbolism found at the source of color prejudice. In America, when a Negro is accepted, people say, "He's black all right, but he has a white soul." [our translation] They say that in order to separate that man from the rest of his race.

Duvalier or Cédras may be gone, or on the way out, but the new Haitian regime will no doubt be just as repressive and corrupt, if it obeys a "master" who despises the black man. Only the true independence of this Caribbean country, fully assuming its identity, will allow the Haitian people to free itself from the yoke constituted by the master-slave relationship. Such an independence will not really be achieved without a fundamental change in the behavior of those who have the means of perpetuating their domination on the black world, for in our opinion, that's where "something must change first."


Today we are very familiar with the mechanisms the so-called Christian West has used to spread and justify anti-Negro prejudices. Numerous Western scholars have had the courage to denounce such behavior. Among those scholars, let us mention again the French anthropologist Roger Bastide, who explains how Christianity entails a certain "color" symbolism which, at first sight, appears harmless. Healsoemphasizes that thereis infinitely more in anti-Black racism than the effect of that symbolism. This is particularly true of its economic roots.

Thus, he writes:

"When some Christians wanted to justify slavery by explaining that the "blackness" of the skin was a punishment inflicted by God -- the curse on Cain (the murderer of his brother), the curse on Ham (Noah's son), who uncovered his father's nakedness -- they were using the symbolism of "blackness", but beyond that symbolism, they were inventing ethological tales destined to justify in their own eyes a system of production based on the exploitation of black workers imported from Africa." [our translation]

The fatal consequences of the anti-Black prejudices spread by so-called Christian civilization have been clearly demonstrated on the socio-political level: slavery, racial conflict, apartheid, etc. And the harmful, and even lethal, character of those prejudices is such that even the scientific realm, which one would have believed to be immune to this contamination, does not seem to have been spared.

This fact is all the more obvious in the realm of sciences considered to be exact, such as optics. Indeed, as soon as we start studying that branch of science, which has to do with light in all its aspects, we are faced with ambiguities, with vagueness, with doubtful, fanciful and even contradictory interpretations. The concept of "color" that stems from scientific experimentation is based on the demonstration in 1665 by the well-known English scientist Isaac Newton. This experiment consists in running a visible light ray called "white light" through a prism in a dark room, breaking down that light into a continuous spectrum encompassing all the colors. It is not difficult to discover that such an experiment and its consequences are far from being scientific or conclusive.

It should not be forgotten that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the best-known German writer and a highly respected scholar, fought a determined battle against what he called "Newton's error". In his opinion, "That transparent lightness which shows itself in darkness is the proof of the law according to which light is nothing else than a mixture of light and darkness, assuming different degrees." [our translation]

The famous American professor Carl Sagan is in complete agreement with Goethe. According to him, the darkness of space jealously hides incredible resources which would be beneficial to science. In state-of-the-art research (in astrophysics, for instance), he finds a set of anti-Black prejudices that, in his opinion, represent brakes on the pursuit of new discoveries in the Space Age.

He said:

"After Apollo, scientists were discouraged. Do you know why they were disheartened? Because the sky above the Moon is black. That made them depressed. Do you think this is a joke? Not at all. Scientists are more fragile than they look. But the sky on Mars is rose-colored and that gave them hope." [our translation]

Today a few scholars, who have noticed "that dark light which falls from the stars", have suggested a redefinition of the word "light". That is to say, we must reject Newton's Law of Colors. It is becoming more and more evident that, on the cosmic scale as well as the terrestrial plane, blackness is an integral part of color and light.

Thus we see that the anti-Black prejudices deeply anchored in Western culture seriously hinder the natural advancement of science. They constitute a practically insurmountable handicap in the relations between the West and the Black world. The true solution to the Haitian problem has to be a long-term one. The search for "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity", the source of truth and "light", requires constant efforts.

Lucien Bonnet

The above article was published in the Montreal daily newspaper Le Devoir(Montreal,Canada) on February 26, 1986.

PLease, SEE :

Posted by: Lucien BONNET | April 16, 2008 2:22 PM

The maximum leader of world's oldest religious autocracy, responsible for religious wars, crusades against moslems, religious persecutions, torture, executions, and extermination of native peoples in American for several centuries, preaches "Liberty" to "Decider of a War of Choice" for economis gain?

Posted by: Robert | April 16, 2008 2:43 PM

Both of these relics are against Abortion, Gay marriages, Fetal stem cell research. The killing of people already born is negotiable. One sees nothing wrong in lower-grade humans dying for transnational corporate profit; the other sees nothing wrong in protecting child molesters.

Posted by: tanaS | April 16, 2008 3:14 PM

This is a great Pope. Some, if you study history, have not been. Hmmm... maybe there is more to this Church thingee than the part you see....

check yer theology on mystical body of Christ

Posted by: slantz | April 16, 2008 4:25 PM

Not to take away attention from the Pope, but did anyone else notice our president's response? Did he really say "awesome speech" to the holy father?

Posted by: anon | April 16, 2008 7:07 PM

I find it somewhat refreshing that this means alot to Catholics. I just wish that more people would actually practice what they are claiming more often when cameras and their christian 'leaders' aren't around. For me, as a christian, albeit a non-catholic, I do, as many who are also non-catholic, worry and are concerned that many people worship and link this individual or any human being for that matter, as holy or exuding God's grace exclusively. We are ALL human and have sin and will continue to do so because we are imperfect beings. Joseph Ratzinger was and is the same person before he became pope. In God's eyes he is no better than anyone else. Secondly, the Catholic church and its pope are not found anywhere in the bible, so if its christianity at its best, as some have suggested, why is there no mention or directive of its origin in the book proclaimed by christians to be the one and only true word of God?

I believe this where man stepped in long ago, for reasons of power (an always present human fallicy) to exert influence. Jesus clearly states in the bible that "no man cometh unto the Father but by me", I can assure you that in mentioning father he was not talking about the pope, and for the record, the only Holy Father, is God---not Joseph Ratzinger!

Posted by: slkwly | April 17, 2008 9:45 AM

Nazi youth Herr Ratzinger Preached "Freedom is a summons to personal responsibility".. But No Personal Responsibility For Child Rape and Pederast Catholic Priests Doing it, and are hidden by Bishops of this Religious Autocracy?

Seems Herr Ratzinger and Dubya compared Notes on "waterboarding" he "approved", becuase Catholics invented this Torture during the Inquisition!

Posted by: Ex Catholic | April 17, 2008 4:29 PM

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