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Fighting in Syria raises concerns about Pope's scheduled trip to neighboring Lebanon

June 12, 2012

Unrest in the Middle East, and especially in Syria, has begun to raise questions about the plans for a September trip to Lebanon by Pope Benedict XVI.

Escalating violence in Syria has caused concern that the fighting could spill over into neighboring Lebanon. Vatican analysts note that Syria has exerted considerable control over Lebanon in recent years, and groups sympathetic to both factions in the Syrian struggle have a strong presence in Lebanon as well.

Vatican officials have privately confirmed plans for a papal trip to Lebanon in mid-September. During that visit the Pope is scheduled to release his apostolic exhortation concluding the work of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, which met in Rome in October 2010.

However, the Vatican has not yet made a formal announcement of the papal trip. That fact may or may not be significant, since the Vatican typically does not release an official announcement of any papal voyage until a few weeks before the trip takes place.


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