Tiny was not amused at being roused from her mid-morning nap for photo ops, but a couple of cannily tendered kitty treats soothed the savage breast.
"American universities aren't the only places where politically incorrect speakers are silenced nowadays," begins a WSJ editorial on the recent unpleasantness at Sapienza University of Rome -- "one of Europe's most prestigious universities" -- where radical leftist faculty and students tried to silence Pope Benedict XVI:
On Tuesday the pontiff canceled a speech scheduled for today at Sapienza University of Rome in the wake of a threat by students and 67 faculty members to disrupt his appearance. The scholars argued that it was inappropriate for a religious figure to speak at their university.
This pope's specific sin was a speech he gave nearly 20 years ago in which, they claimed, he indicated support for the 17th-century heresy trial against Galileo. The censoring scholars apparently failed to appreciate the irony that, in preventing the pope from speaking, they were doing to him what the Church once did to Galileo, stifling free speech and intellectual inquiry.
"The scientists’ revolt, initially discreet, snowballed after radical students," channeling Hillary mentor Saul Alinsky's third rule for radicals -- "you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat" -- "took up the cause. On Tuesday they briefly occupied the rector’s offices seeking the right to demonstrate on Thursday," reports AFP.
"The demand will far outstrip the available supply," said a Roman Catholic spokesman re tickets for Pope Benedict XVI's Mass at Yankee Stadium in April, reports Newsday. In photo the Holy Father holds his first general audience of 2008 in St.Peter's Basilica, the Vatican. (Getty Images)
How lame. But Alinsky's shopworn, totalitarianesque "Rules for Radicals" (published in 1971) were no match for the Pope who loves cats and Mozart. Papa Ratzi may have canceled, but he didn't back down. Catholic World News explains:
The Vatican Secretary of State said that the Pope decided to postpone his visit "in order to remove any pretext for demonstrations." The cardinal acknowledged that "a decidedly minority group of professors and students" had been responsible for the uproars that prompted the Pope's cancellation.
Cardinal Bertone's letter accompanied a text of the address that the Holy Father had planned to deliver at La Sapienza . . .
The Pope's lecture was read at the convocation that the Pontiff had been invited to address. [The full text of the papal address is available on the CWN site.] When Professor Piero Marletti concluded his reading of the papal text, the crowd in the university's Aula Magna rose in hearty applause, punctuated by cheers of "Long live the Pope!" . . .
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa remarked that the Pope’s decision to cancel his visit to La Sapienza was “common sense”. Cardinal Bagnasco assured readers that the Catholic Church has not renounced dialogue with the scientific world. Also, leaders of the youth wing of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia Party said they would attend Sunday’s Angelus as an expression of solidarity with the Pope.
Beauty in unexpected places, this time looking down into the kitchen compost collector, where orange peels, garlic parchment, cauliflower greens, snow pea tips and iceberg lettuce compose a richly sonorous quintet of organic form, texture and color.
"What can and should the Pope say in meeting with his city's university?" asked His Holiness in the speech he did not deliver. "He certainly should not try to impose in an authoritarian manner his faith on others, which can only be freely offered":
In modern times knowledge has become more multi-faceted, especially in the two broad fields that now prevail in universities. First of all, there are the natural sciences which have developed on the basis of experimentation and subject matters’ supposed rationality. Secondly, there are the social sciences and the humanities in which man has tried to understand himself by looking at his own history and uncovering his own nature . . .
But man’s journey can never be said to be over, and the danger of falling into inhumanity is never just warded off as we can see in today's history. The danger faced by the Western world, just to mention the latter, is that mankind, given its great knowledge and power, might give up on the question of the truth . . . philosophy, feeling incapable of fulfilling its task, might degenerate into positivism . . . If however reason, concerned about its supposed purity, fails to hear the great message that comes from the Christian faith and the understanding it brings, it will dry up like a tree with roots cut off from the water that gives it life. It will lose the courage needed to find the truth and thus become . . . undone and fragmented.
As we blogged three years back, referencing thoughts of the late Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin, "trying to plan for the future without a sense of the past is like trying to plant cut flowers."
Update: Cut flowers not your thing? All things bright and beautiful now boarding Friday Ark #174 at Steve's Modulator.
Update II: "It’s not healthy," says The Anchoress.
Update III: The Lord moves in mysterious ways: "Galileo’s university considers inviting Pope to give conference."
Note: Blog title is part of a quotation from Galileo: "All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them."