But for closure, or at least full disclosure, there remains one elephantine aspect of the offending late 14th century exchange between the Byzantine ruler Manuel II Paleologus and his learned Muslim interlocutor that has not yet entered the public discourse.
The implications of this omitted, oddly taboo discussion, are profound, transcending any concerns about its potential inflammatory nature.
At the end of the 26-round marathon dialogue of seven centuries ago alluded to by Pope Benedict, the Muslim "muderris" (theologian), overwhelmed by continuous glimpses of Christian truth, hovers at the threshold of abandoning Islam and embracing Christianity. The muderris openly marvels at the magnificence of Christ and the Christian teachings, while proclaiming his readiness to journey to Constantinople (the last significant stronghold of the once mighty Byzantine Christian empire), and study with the theologians there. The drama of the dialogue thus concludes with the muderris' effective inner conversion to Christianity, and his promise to Manuel II to pursue this profound change of heart.