Pope's Comments Published in Arabic

In L'Osservatore Romano

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 19, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano surprised its readers by publishing in Arabic the message that a saddened Benedict XVI gave to clarify his words on Islam.

The Sept. 18-19 Italian daily edition reproduces in Arabic the clarification the Pope gave Sunday regarding his Sept. 12 comments on Islam. The text appears on the front page.

During his weekly Angelus address the Holy Father said: "I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims."

"These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought," the Pope stated.

The Pontiff pointed to the statement published Saturday by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, to clarify "the true meaning of my words."

Benedict XVI said that he hopes "that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect."

Cardinal Bertone, who assumed the position of Vatican secretary of state last Friday, mobilized apostolic nuncios worldwide, especially those living in Muslim countries, to explain to civil and religious authorities the meaning of the Pope's words.