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    » 09/19/2012, 00.00


    Pope: Christianity and Islam witnessing together against divisions, violence and wars

    At the general audience, Benedict XVI retraces the steps of his visit to Lebanon. A "strongly desired" journey, a "providential opportunity for dialogue" in a region that sees dramas such as the "terrible conflict" in Syria. Christians are exhorted to "live the faith and to witness it without fear."

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The world today needs clear and strong sign of dialogue and cooperation" and " seems to me the time has come for Christianity and Islam to give a united, sincere and decided testimony against divisions, violence and wars. " On his return from Lebanon, the subject of his reflections to eight thousand people present at the general audience at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI repeated his call for dialogue and coexistence launched several times over the weekend from the Land of the Cedars.

    The journey from September 14 to 16 "was - the Pope said - a trip that I had strongly wanted, despite the difficult circumstances, considering that a father should always be near his children when they encounter grave problems. I was moved by a sincere desire to announce the peace that the risen Lord gave to his disciples and summarized in the words "My peace I give to you'".

    It "was a moving ecclesial event and, at the same time, a provident opportunity for dialogue lived in a complex but emblematic country for the entire region, because of its tradition of coexistence and fruitful cooperation between the different religious and social components. In the face of the suffering and tragedies that continue in that area of ​​the Middle East, I expressed my heartfelt closeness to the legitimate aspirations of those dear people, bringing them a message of encouragement and peace. I am thinking in particular of the terrible conflict that torments Syria, causing, in addition to thousands of deaths, a stream of refugees that pours into the region desperately seeking security and a future; neither have I forgotten the plight of Iraq ."

    The "main" aim of the visit was to give the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente to the Churches of the region, " to reach all the faithful of that dear land, to support them in their faith and communion and encourage them on the path of the much hoped for new evangelization"and the very first appointment of the first day was in fact the signing of the document in the Greek-Catholic church of St. Paul in Harissa. " On that occasion I invited Catholics in the Middle East to fix their gaze on Christ Crucified to find the strength, even in difficult and painful contexts, to celebrate the victory of love over hate, forgiveness over revenge and unity over division. I assured them all that the universal Church is closer than ever, with affection and prayer, to the Church in the Middle East: they, despite being a "little flock", need not fear, knowing that the Lord is always with them. The Pope does not forget them".

    The Pope described the visit as "extraordinary days" lived "with enthusiasm in a relaxed and constructive atmosphere", an "important experience of mutual respect, understanding and brotherhood, which is a strong sign of hope for all humanity."

    But it was above all about his meeting with the Catholics of the region. On the second day, in Bkerke, the residence of the Maronite Patriarch, " the irrepressible enthusiasm of thousands of young people from Lebanon and from neighboring countries." " I encouraged them to be firm in their faith, trusting in Christ." " Seeing young Christians and Muslims celebrate in great harmony, I encouraged them to build together the future of Lebanon and the Middle East and to oppose violence and war. Harmony and reconciliation must be stronger than the forces of death" .

    In Mass on Sunday morning, with faithful from all over the Middle East, " I urged everyone to live and to witness their faith without fear, knowing that the vocation of the Christian and the Church is to bring the Gospel to all without distinction, following the example of Jesus in a context marked by bitter conflicts, I drew attention to the need to serve peace and justice by becoming instruments of reconciliation and builders of communion".

    "I hope - he concluded - that the messages of peace and respect that I wanted to give, will help governments of the region to take decisive steps towards peace and a better understanding of the relationship between Christians and Muslims."



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    See also

    20/02/2010 VATICAN - LEBANON
    Pope to Hariri: Lebanon, a model of coexistence and "message" for the entire Middle East
    This morning, Benedict XVI received the Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri in audience. The coexistence of different religious communities in the country is a model for the entire Middle East region. At the Synod of Bishops of the Middle East the task of promoting dialogue “between cultures and religions. "

    11/10/2006 VATICAN
    Option for dialogue should not hide Christian identity

    At the general audience, Benedict XVI said upholding one's identity entails the "strength, clarity and courage of provocation that belong to the faith".

    23/01/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: The world wants to see "the face of God", but only in unity can Christians display it
    Benedict XVI's address for the general audience is dedicated to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In the 100 years since its institution, Christians have established friendly relations and theological dialogue, but above all they have learned to pray together for the return to full communion.

    07/05/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: an "ecumenical" general audience, also present the head of the Armenian Church
    Benedict XVI wanted beside him Karekin II, who is paying a visit to the Holy See. An exchange of greetings highlights hope in the journey toward full unity. This evening, the concert of the philharmonic orchestra of Beijing. The Chinese embassy relates the event to the Olympics and to an "improvement" in relations with the Vatican. A new appeal for solidarity toward Myanmar.

    20/09/2012 LEBANON - VATICAN
    Fr. Samir: For the Pope, Lebanon is a model for East and West
    A few days after Benedict XVI’s visit to Lebanon (14-16 September) Lebanese enthusiasm refuses to be dampened, presented as a model of coexistence for the world Muslims and Christians. The Apostolic Exhortation suggests the overcoming of fundamentalism on the part of all religions, welcoming one another in the name of reason and principles inherent in human nature. The proposal for a "healthy secularity", respectful of the presence of religion in society also has something to say to the West.

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