Oriana & B16

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On August 27, the Pope met privately with Oriana Fallaci. Here's part of the Zenit story:

Today, in an interview with the newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, Auxiliary Bishop Rino Fisichella clarified the motives for the papal audience with Fallaci. "That the Pope should receive Oriana Fallaci and talk with her should not surprise anyone, unless they have evil intentions," Bishop Fisichella told the newspaper. "She is an interpreter of our times, raises a sign of alarm on a danger, and asked to speak with the Pope in a reserved way," he said. "The Pope accepted. There is nothing more to it." Although Fallaci "is not a believer, she has reflected much -- as she said in a recent interview -- on Cardinal Ratzinger's invitation to nonbelievers to behave 'as if God existed.' A 'brilliant' invitation, as she described it," added Bishop Fisichella. The 54-year-old prelate, who is also rector of the Lateran University, said that the
journalist's meeting with the Pope did not have a political character. "It is set in a cultural horizon. It forms part of the meetings with learned men and women that Cardinal Ratzinger always had and that Benedict XVI will continue to have," said the auxiliary bishop. "Meetings of many kinds: public debates, like the ones he had with J├╝rgen Habermas and Paolo Flores d'Arcais; co-authored publications, like the one he had with Marcello Pera, president of the Italian Senate; and private meetings which have remained reserved, as this one with Fallaci should have been." The meeting was of a private character, the bishop continued, "because that's as she requested it."

Here's what Fallaci has said previously about Joseph Ratzinger.