There's something to be said for consistency:
...John Paul II made some dramatic gestures to rally world religious leaders, the most famous being a gathering in Assisi of every world faith, even African animists, to pray for world peace. He felt keenly the terrible history of Catholic-Jewish relations, and having fought with the Polish resistance to save Jews in the second world war, John Paul II made unprecedented efforts to begin to heal centuries of hostility and indifference on the part of the Catholic church to Europe's Jews. John Paul II also addressed himself to the ancient enmity between Muslims and Catholics; he apologised for the Crusades and was the first Pope to visit a mosque during a visit to Syria in 2001.
In contrast, Pope Benedict has managed to antagonise two major world faiths within a few months. The current anger of Muslims is comparable to the anger and disappointment felt by Jews after his visit to Auschwitz in May. He gave a long address at the site of the former concentration camp and failed to mention anti-semitism, and offered no apology - whether on behalf of his own country, Germany, or on behalf of the Catholic Church. He acknowledged he was a "son of the German people" ... "but not guilty on that account"; he then launched into a highly controversial claim that a "ring of criminals" were responsible for nazism and that the German people were as much their victims as anyone else...
Even worse, in his Auschwitz address, he managed to argue in a long theological exposition that the real victims of the Holocaust were God and Christianity. As one commentator put it, he managed to claim that Jews were the "themselves bit players - bystanders at their own extermination. The true victim was a metaphysical one." This theological treatise bears the same characteristics as last week's Regensburg lecture; put at its most charitable, they are too clever by half. More plainly speaking, they indicate a deep arrogance rooted in a blinkered Catholic triumphalism which is utterly out of place in the 21st century...
Like John-Paul said, it was utterly out of place in the 12th century, too.
...The Catholic church has to make a dramatic break with its triumphalist, bigoted past if it is to contribute in any constructive way to chart this new course. John Paul II made some dramatic steps in this direction; but the fear now is that Pope Benedict XVI has no intention of following suit, and that he has another direction altogether in mind.
More from Pope Benedict...
The ordination of women
On the excommunication of seven women who called themselves priests: "... the penalty imposed is not only just, but also necessary, in order to protect true doctrine, to safeguard the communion and unity of the church, and to guide consciences of the faithful."
On same-sex marriage
"Call[s] into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father, and make[s] homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent, in a new model of polymorphous sexuality."
On rock music
"[A] vehicle of anti-religion"; "the complete antithesis of the Christian faith in the redemption."
Der Panzerpapen seems to want to clear the way for post-industrial feudalism once the petrocarbon's all gone.