Click here to advertise on

Pope arrives in Lebanon, notes 'delicate equilibrium' of coexistence

Catholic World News - September 14, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Beirut on Friday afternoon, September 14, for a 3-day visit during which he will release an apostolic exhortation on the Church in the Middle East, and encourage reconciliation in a region brimming with political and religious tensions.

The Pope arrived at Rafik Hariri airport--named for the Lebanese prime minister whose in a 2005 bombing is emblematic of the country’s recent turmoil—at 2 pm. He was greeted by Lebanon’s President Michel Sleiman and by a large group of political and religious leaders.

“Christians and Muslims welcome you,” announced the Lebanese leader. Sleiman said that Lebanon is proud of its history of peaceful coexistence among believers of different faiths. He said that the country’s people have looked forward to the visit by the Pope as a messenger of peace, and “hope that your visit will bring good to Lebanon and Christians throughout the East.”

In his own remarks at the airport ceremony, Pope Benedict spoke of the long and friendly ties between Lebanon and the Holy See. He remarked that a statue of St. Maron, the patron of Lebanon’s Maronite rite, now stands in St. Peter’s basilica as “a constant reminder of Lebanon in the very place where the Apostle Peter was laid to rest.”

The Pope thanked the many Church leaders who were present to greet him, offering a special acknowledgement to Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, the former Maronite Patriarch, and to his successor, Patiarch Bechara Rai. He also took care to “greet very warmly the Orthodox patriarchs and bishops” who were on hand, and spoke about the history of religious cooperation in Lebanon.

Lebanon, the Pope said, has shown the world that “there can exist cooperation between the various churches… and at the same time coexistence and respectful dialogue between Christians and their brethren of other religions.” He added, however, that “this equilibrium…is extremely delicate,” and must be preserved with care.

The Pope reminded his Lebanese hosts that his primary purpose during the visit will be the release of his apostolic exhortation concluding the work of the special Synod for the Middle East. He disclosed the name for the document: Ecclesia in Medio Oriente.

“I have come to Lebanon as a pilgrim of peace, as a friend of God and as a friend of men,” the Pope said as he concluded his address. He offered his prayers for all the people suffering today in the Middle East.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our August expenses ($33,204 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,795.95
95% 5%
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on

Recent Catholic Commentary

Another Month Closer to God July 31
Links to the past July 30
Fetal tissues and vaccinations; are you part of the problem? July 30
The mystery of conversion, always deeply rooted in Divine mercy July 30
Vatican delegations ought to avoid the rhetoric of the world. July 30

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days