Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI - Apostolic Journey to Lebanon (14-16 September 2012)

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Addresses of Pope Benedict XVI


A general view of St. Paul's Basilica where the Pope Benedict XVI, is seen center delivers his blessing before signing the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, in Harissa, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Coverage and Commentary

Catholic News Service (with Francis X Rocca)

La Stampa "The Vatican Insider"

  • 9-15-12: Benedict XVI: “Real believers don’t kill”, by Giacomo Galleazzi. The Holy Father met with Lebanese political and religious leaders in the Baabda Presidential Palace, where he was welcomed by the country’s President Michel Suleiman and his wife.
  • 9-14-12: Pope calls for new initiatives to bring peace in Syria, by Gerard O'Connel:
    When Pope Benedict drove from Beirut airport to Harissa where he is staying during his visit here, he would probably not have known that he passed close to the Palestinian refugee camp at Sabra and Shatila where over 1700 Palestinians were massacred exactly 30 years ago, on 16-18 September 1982. ...
  • 9-14-12: Pope calls for "full rights for Catholics in the Middle East":
    In the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Benedict XVI says Christians in the Middle East need to rediscover the essential aspects of faith, forgiveness prevails over revenge, service over domination and love over hate. The role of women, the value of celibacy, Christian unity against religious intolerance. Armed vehicles line the streets Benedict XVI passes through, in order to ensure his safety. The Pope may need a walking stick to lean on but his steps are determined: he walks through the dusty Lebanese carrying only the 86 page Apostolic Exhortation which brings together all that emerged from the Special Synod for the Middle East in 2010. It contains the antidote to the clash between civilisations and the guidelines for the survival of the Middle Eastern Churches which are being submerged under a swelling wave of radical Islamism.
  • 9-13-12: Lebanese hope Pope's visit will reduce tensions and promote peace, by Gerard O'Connell.
  • 9-13-12: A journey against all fundamentalism, by Giacomo Galliazi. "Three years ago, it was the murder of the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Turkey, Luigi Padovese, on the eve of Benedict XVI’s departure for Cyprus. This time it’s the slaughter in Benghazi and the protests against the film which insulted the prophet Muhammad."
  • 9-11-12: The “Arab awakening” and the Vatican’s road map for Syria, by Alesandro Speciale:
    Less than a week before Benedict XVI is due to embark on his visit to Lebanon, the Holy See has given a clear and detailed outline of its policy towards war-torn Lebanon. But the speech given by the Colombian priest and Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Rev. Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, during a high-level conference on the “Arab Awakening”, held in Istanbul, goes far beyond this: it outlines the Vatican’s position on events that have shaken the Middle East and North Africa over the past two years, at a time when the initial enthusiasm spurred by events in the region has given way to scepticism, with local Christian communities feeling increasingly targeted.
  • 9-10-12: From Paul VI to Benedict XVI: Popes in the land of cedars, by Luca Rolandi. Forty eight years after Pope Paul VI and fifteen years after John Paul II, the Catholic Church in Lebanon and the Middle East prepare to welcome another pope, Benedict XVI.
  • 9-07-12: Controversial text addressed to the Pope, mysteriously disappears A message published by the Melkite Patriarch Gregory III Laham on the event’s website -- [calling for the explicit recognition of the state of Palestine] -- disappeared just a few hours later. The publication of the message on the web has been a great embarrassment to Rome.
  • 9-7-12: Lebanon: Christians and Muslims meet to pray ahead of Pope’s visit An Muslim-Christian vigil was held to invoke God and the Virgin Mary’s protection for Benedict XVI’s visit.


In the gardens of the Presidential Palace, accompanied by Lebanon's Christian president Michael Sleiman, Pope Benedict plants a sapling Lebanese cedar. Source: Reuters (HT: The Benedict Forum)

National Catholic Reporter, with John Allen Jr.

  • 9-16-12: On trip about unity, Catholic division a striking omission
  • 9-15-12: Archbishop (gently) corrects pope on Arab Spring. Contrasting the Pope's observation that “in itself the Arab Spring is a positive thing" with Archbishop Georges Bou-Jaoude of Tripoli's "slightly less rosy" assessment.
  • 9-15-12: Pope tackles elephant in room of Christian exodus:
    In a speech to at least 20,000 Lebanese youth tonight, both Christians and Muslims, Pope Benedict XVI tackled the elephant in the room during his fourth trip to the Middle East: Despite decades of papal appeals, so far nothing has stopped a steep decline in the region’s native Christian population.

    The Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem, Foaud Twal, recently warned that the Holy Land is on the brink of becoming a “spiritual Disneyland,” full of glittering spiritual attractions but empty of flesh-and-blood Christians. Many observers wonder if a similar fate awaits the entire region.

  • 9-15-12: Muslims want Christians in Middle East, mufti tells pope
  • 9-14-12: Pope's trip showcases another face of the Middle East:
    When Pope Benedict XVI arrived today at Beirut’s Rafic Hariri airport, the VIP delegation awaiting him consisted of both Christian patriarchs and Muslim clerics, all of whom mingled freely both before and after the welcoming ceremony. The Muslim leaders listened attentively, applauded warmly, and projected a general air of delight.

    Later in the day, when the pope went to a Greek Melkite basilica to sign the concluding document from a 2010 Synod of Bishops on the Middle East, the same visuals played out: bishops and muftis, patriarchs and imams, were all on hand. TV coverage leading up the pope’s arrival had shots of bishops and muftis slapping one another on the back, telling jokes, and sharing quiet conversation.

    It’s not just the clerical establishment. ...

  • 9-14-12: In Lebanon, pope mixes bitter and sweet:
    In advance, Benedict XVI's three-day trip to Lebanon shaped up as a balancing act, both reaching out and pushing back -- that is, extending an olive branch to the Muslim majority of both Lebanon and the entire Middle East, while at the same time defending its beleaguered Christian minority and rejecting the radical currents in Islam which exploded anew this week with violence in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere.
  • 9-13-12: Getting Lebanon's Catholics to work and play well together "While Catholics make up around one-quarter of the national population of four million, they're divided into seven separate churches – and, to be frank, they don’t always work and play well together."
  • 9-11-12: Framing the pope's trip to Lebanon





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