Two things have struck me about Pope Benedict's lecture and its coverage in the media: one, the media didn't see that the Pope was speaking to the West as much as or more than to Muslims, and two, the media reported the lecture in a manner guaranteed to fan the flames of the Muslim world (which doesn't take much). And I've been disappointed (not surprised) that more Catholic leaders haven't supported the Pope. Big wussies!
Nonetheless, there have been lots of good op-eds and essays that do support the Pope and what he said. Here's an excellent one from Father Joseph Fessio, the founder of Ignacius Press (hat tip to Gerard Augustinus), please read the whole thing. Two excerpts, the first excerpt is a thought experiment:
"Let us now turn to the statement in Benedict's lecture which has aroused the most anger. Benedict quotes the Byzantine Emperor's challenge to the learned Muslim: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." ....As a thought experiment, let's reverse the situation. Suppose a major spokesman for Islam publicly issued the challenge: "Show me just what Jesus brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman." What would be the Christian response? Not to burn a mosque or an effigy of the Muslim spokesman, or to shoot a Muslim nurse in the back in Somalia. It would rather be to reply with some examples of just what makes the New Covenant new: the revelation that God is a Father who has a co-equal Son and Holy Spirit; that Jesus is God's Son made flesh; the Sermon on the Mount; the Resurrection of the body; the list would be long. As Irenaeus put it: he brought all newness, bringing himself. Such a statement would not make dialogue impossible; it would be an occasion for dialogue."
The second excerpt discusses the assymetry in religious freedom in the West and the Muslim world, one which Pope Benedict has pointed out many times before:
"It's worth noting, however, that while consistent Christians and Muslims in fact hold the position of the other to be erroneous in important ways, the Christian is not obliged by his faith to subject the Muslim to dhimmitude nor to deny him his religious freedom. There is a serious asymmetry here, which Benedict has criticized before. The Saudis can build a multi-million dollar mosque in Rome; but Christians can be arrested in Saudi Arabia for possessing a Bible."