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The Personal Regrets of Pope Benedict XVI

I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my recent address which were considered offensive. Although I have issued a series of apology-inspired statements in the past weeks, I feel the world needs to hear more. And that too makes me sorry. That the world is so difficult to please.

So here we go again.

I'd like to, once more, express my regrets that so many of our brothers from Islam felt hurt and angry as a result of their interpretation of things they thought they heard me say. I offer my deep regrets that they are so easily offended. I understand how hard it is to struggle with one' sensitive nature, to find slight or insult in situations where an objective, more level-headed person would hear only reason and insight. I lament your anguish and am suffering with the knowledge that in some way, however unintentionally, I am tangentially involved.

I am sorry that the Muslim community feels it must respond with such animosity to my ultimately accurate speech and its ensuing pro-forma apologies. I apologize for not making the context of my statements more crystal clear so that even a child could parse the language and intent. But hey — those were the words of Manuel II Paleologus, not me.

The vast majority of my speeches take an intellectual and scholarly approach. I am beginning to realize how difficult it must be for people of a lesser culture or civilization to be able to discern the true meaning of my words. It is with a heavy heart that I accept that the followers of Islam fall into that category.

As there seems to be a growing proclivity towards requiring mea culpas from those who, in normal times, would never need apologize, I humbly offer my regrets, retroactively, for the following events that were not really my fault to begin with:

I am sorry that the Turks provoked the Inquisition. I am remorseful that the Church was compelled to such extreme measures to ward off the threat to civilization that were being posed by the heretics and Protestants.

I regret that the Crusades were, in hindsight, the only viable mechanism to unite Europe under the rule of law. I feel remorse that Mohammedan tyranny and Muslim aggression was so potent as to bring on this defensive series of wars.

I'm sorry that Galileo did not release his scientific discoveries more appropriately given the era he lived in. I regret that I was not Pope back then, able to more effectively guide him in public relations.

I apologize for the perpetrators of the recent sexual abuse scandals. Although this occurred before I become Pope, and I personally have never served with any one of these errant clergy, and although it' a distinctly American phenomenon, and I rarely had any interaction with the American church at that time, I suppose I'm now accountable for everything that goes on in the Church. That' the deal, right? I mean, I don't even speak English fluently. But the captain is responsible for the actions of every member of his crew, even though that sounds pretty extreme, if you ask me.

I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, whether you're enlightened enough to appreciate it or not.
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