TORONTO, September 19, 2006 – The Catholic Civil Rights League ( today expressed concern about the sometimes violent controversy surrounding a speech made last week by Pope Benedict at the University of Regensburg, Germany.

Within a talk to an academic audience about the relationship between faith and reason, and the importance of dialogue, the Pope cited a statement attributed to the 14th century emperor Manuel II Paleologus. “The subsequent public dissemination of one sentence, taken out of context, is an example of people twisting His Holiness’ words to say what they want them to mean,” said League President Phil Horgan. “We urge people to read the full text of these remarks in context, and have provided it on our website to help them do that.”

For example, immediately after the ‘offending’ quote, Pope Benedict said, “The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.”

Pope Benedict states that no religion worthy of the name can rationally propose spreading the faith through force. Sadly, some of the violent reaction proves just how urgently the world needs to heed this message.