Skip to comments.In Lebanon, Pope Benedict's Presence was the Message
Posted on 09/18/2012 6:25:35 AM PDT by marshmallow
BEIRUT (CNS) -- When Pope Benedict XVI stepped off the plane in Beirut Sept. 14, he said he had come to Lebanon, and to the Middle East in general, as a "pilgrim of peace." In five major talks over the next three days, the pope repeatedly called for peace and underscored the role of Christians in promoting it. Yet his most eloquent message of hope to the troubled region lay not in the diplomatic language of his public statements, but in his very presence and the response it evoked from his hosts.
Throughout his trip, Pope Benedict limited himself to general statements of principle on the most contentious political issues, and he avoided some topics altogether.
His insistence that religious freedom is a basic human right and a prerequisite for social harmony was a bold statement in the context of a region where most countries restrict and even prohibit the practice of any faith besides Islam. But like the document he came to Lebanon to present, a collection of his reflections on the 2010 special Synod of Bishops dedicated to Christians in the Middle East, the pope said nothing specific about where and how the region's Christians are regularly deprived of that right.
The pope twice the deplored the human cost of the civil war in neighboring Syria, but his only practical recommendation for an end to the fighting there was a neutral call to end the importation of military arms, which he called a "grave sin." With regard to religiously inspired violence, the pope made a single generic reference to terrorism and a possible allusion to the subject in the statement that "authentic faith does not lead to death."
Pope Benedict said nothing at all about the incendiary subject that dominated news coverage in the run-up to his trip:..........
(Excerpt) Read more at catholicnews.com ...
Courageously striding into the lions’ den.
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