Pope Benedict XVI is "extremely upset" that Muslims have been offended by some of his words in a recent speech in Germany, the Vatican said Saturday amid demands for apologies from much of the Islamic world and some reports of violence.
The new Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said the pope's position on Islam is unmistakably in line with Vatican teaching that says the Church "esteems Muslims, who adore the only God."
Thus, the pope is "extremely upset that some portions of his speech were able to sound offensive to the sensibilities of Muslim believers and have been interpreted in a way that does not at all correspond to his intentions," Bertone said in a statement.
"On the other hand, faced with the fervent piety of Muslim believers, he has warned secularized Western culture so that it avoid 'the scorn of God and the cynicism which considers the mockery of the sacred a right of freedom,"' Bertone said, citing words from another speech that Benedict gave during the German trip.
"In reiterating his respect and his esteem for those who profess Islam, he hopes that they are aided in understanding the right sense of his words, so that this not easy moment be quickly overcome," the cardinal said.