Vatican says pope’s Lebanon trip still a go despite violence

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican confirmed on Wednesday (Sept. 12) that Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Lebanon will go ahead … Continued

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican confirmed on Wednesday (Sept. 12) that Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Lebanon will go ahead as planned, despite growing tension in the region after the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya by a mob enraged by an anti-Islam film.

The Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Vatican was closely monitoring developments in the region but there were no signs of specific security concerns for Benedict’s trip so far.

Benedict is scheduled to leave on Friday for a three-day visit to Lebanon despite rising instability spilling over from a deadly civil war in neighboring Syria. The visit is also a signal of the Vatican’s concern for Christian minorities in the Middle East who feel under threat after the upheavals of the Arab spring revolutions.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, hailed the “Holy Father’s brave visit to Lebanon” in Washington Wednesday (Sept. 12) and lamented the “thousands upon thousands” of persecuted Christians fleeing the Middle East.

“These Christian families want to stay in the ancient lands of their birth but too often make the diffucult decision to leave as a result of harrassment or violent threats by extremists,” said Dolan.

Lombardi said Benedict will restate his “message of dialogue and respect for all believers of different religions” during his visit.

The attacks against U.S. diplomatic compounds in Libya and Egypt were allegedly sparked by an American-produced film that satirizes Islam and the prophet Muhammad.

In his statement, Lombardi also warned against the “tragic results” of “unjustified offense and provocations against the sensibilities of Muslim believers.” He said such provocations have the effect of nourishing “tension and hatred, unleashing unacceptable violence.”

Lombardi stressed that “profound respect for the beliefs, texts, outstanding figures and symbols” of different religions is an “essential precondition for the peaceful coexistence of peoples.”

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

  • chuck711

    When does religion become evil? When people hurt and react in anger after the Pope is hurt. What real purpose does it serve for the Pope to visit the war zone of the radicals that live for war? If operatives hurt the pope, it will aid in more violence. The Pope’s trip is self centered, dangerous and the timing could lead to World War Three which means the trip is based on a anti-faith decision.

  • one nation

    Why would WW3 be stared over one death even though many would be upset by the death? Is there more behind this trip then we know ? If killed, would he be proclaimed a martyr and put on fast track like JP2?

  • AngelS2S

    chuck711, You have formed an unjust opinion in haste. First of all, anger can be just (e.g., if somebody murdered your mother, you would be inhuman if you felt no anger); secondly, anger in mature persons leads to constructive behavior, not needless violence (e.g., forgiving survivors of a heinous crime against their family become especially credible opponents of capital punishment). While there are indeed many radicals in Lebanon and also some Christians who would react to an assasination with retaliatory violence, you yourself offend Muslims if you are implying that Lebanese Muslims as a whole are incapable of being good hosts when leading groups agreed FAR IN ADVANCE to welcome the Pope and guarantee his safety (as much as is humanly possible anyway). It is also ethnocentric of you to be so oblivious of the pastoral needs of beleagured minorities in the Middle East EPECIALLY at a time such as this. Those whose opinions count the most will appreciate the pope’s courage and desire to be with them as a pastor among a frightened flock.

Read More Articles

Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.

The End of Surveillance for New York Muslims — For Now

How American Muslims modeled the right response to systematic injustice.

From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.