The latest round of conflagrations in the Moslem Middle East has a number of Catholic commentators revisiting Pope Benedict’s 2006 Regensburg lecture for its prescience and for the points he made about the centrality of reason (and its relative absence in Islam). Frs. De Souza and Rutler offer their reminiscences here and here. For my money the best commentary on the importance of the address is found in the writings of Fr. James Schall, who, accurately in my view, called it “the most important address in modern times.” EWTN compiled three short interviews Zenit conducted with Fr. Schall to promote his 2007 Regensburg-themed book. Here’s a sample from part II:
Some philosophers, not just Muslim, think that God cannot be limited in any way, even by the principle of contradiction. He can make right wrong, or even make hatred of God his will. It sounds strange to hear this position at first. But once we grant its first principle, that will is higher than intellect, and governs it, everything follows.
This theory is why so-called Muslim terrorists claim and believe that they are in fact following Allah’s will. They might even be acting on a good, if erroneous, conscience. Allah wants the whole world to worship him in the order laid down in the Koran.
The world cannot be settled until this conversion to Islam happens, even if it takes centuries to accomplish. This submission to Allah is conceived to be a noble act of piety. There is in voluntarist principles nothing contradictory if Allah orders the extension of his kingdom by violence, since there is no objective order that would prevent the opposite of what is ordered from being ordered the next day.