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Pope confirms September 2012 visit to Lebanon (invited by Sunni Muslim PM)
EWTN ^ | March 16, 2012 | Benjamin Mann

Posted on 03/16/2012 1:22:55 PM PDT by NYer

Patriarch Gregorios III Laham

Rumors of a papal trip to Lebanon have been confirmed by the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, which will welcome Pope Benedict XVI at the start of his Sept. 14-16 visit.

“We came to him and now he's coming to us,” said Patriarch Gregorios III, a major participant in the 2010 synod of bishops that brought many Arab Church leaders to the Vatican. He confirmed recent talk of a papal visit during a March 15 press conference at the Melkite Catholics' headquarters in Rome.

The Pope “will come to support Christians so that they are united,” the patriarch said, according to Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper.

The Melkite Catholic leader will give a discourse in the Pope's presence on the afternoon of Sept. 14, at the Church of St. Paul at Harissa.

Patriarch Gregorios, who is based in the Syrian capital Damascus, said the Pope would be making the visit “for all of the Middle East.” Pope Benedict may even stop over in Syria “if the situation improves,” according to the Eastern Catholic patriarch.

Along with a “message of peace” for all people of the region, the Pope will deliver a document – known as the post-synodal apostolic exhortation – dealing more specifically with themes of the 2010 Synod for the Middle East.

That gathering gave top priority to the preservation of Middle Eastern Catholics and other Christians in their historic homelands. It took place only months before the Arab world erupted in a series of ongoing and often violent revolutions.

Concern over some Middle Eastern churches' survival has grown in the meantime, following the rise of political Islam in Egypt and the prospect of a civil war in Syria.

Lebanon, by contrast, is considered a model of stability and religious coexistence in the Middle East. The country's power-sharing system divides different offices of leadership between Muslim groups and Maronite Catholics, who are led by Patriarch Bechara Rai and make up 21 percent of the population.

The Pope was invited to Lebanon by its Sunni Muslim prime minister Najib Mikati, during his November 2011 visit to the Vatican.


TOPICS: Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: benedict; lebanon; pope

1 posted on 03/16/2012 1:23:06 PM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer

Allahu Akbar!


2 posted on 03/16/2012 1:25:26 PM PDT by Joe the Pimpernel (Islam is a religion of peace, and Moslems reserve the right to behead anyone who says otherwise.)
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To: NYer

He should consider packing a lot of anti-rad pills and a lot of shovels.


3 posted on 03/16/2012 1:26:14 PM PDT by Yehuda (Muck Fislam and it's useful infidel - dhimmie supporters.)
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...
This may help to put the visit into perspective.


Pope John Paul II, the Apostolic Churches and Lebanon

A sign of holiness is the desire and ability in a person to love the world as God so loves us. This theme is an entire symphony in the life of Pope John Paul II, played out in many of his efforts to reach out to others. Three most impressive ways were: 1) his profound insights given over years of Wednesday Audiences and now called the "Theology of the Body", 2) his fruitful outreach to Judaism, and 3) a less well known theme, his love and insight into the role and importance of the Apostolic Churches. In all three of these areas, the Holy Father was both prophetic and courageous.

As a Maronite Catholic, I would like to reflect on his love for the Apostolic Churches, especially as this theme played out in his wise and prudent desire to convoke the Synod for Lebanon in 1995.

Pope John Paul II, like his predecessor Pope Paul VI, envisioned the Synod of Bishops as a means to continue the springtime renewal of the Church begun with the Second Vatican Council. There have been twenty five Synods since 1965, some based on different themes, such as the Family, the Eucharist, and the Word of God, others based on territorial considerations, such as the Synod for Africa, Asia, The Americas, Europe and the Middle East. In 1991 Pope John Paul II announced his desire to convoke a Synod for Lebanon, unique because it was the only time a Synod focused on just one country.

Pope John Paul II developed the extremely popular moral conception that "Lebanon is more than a country, it is a mission." He viewed Lebanese society as a model for religious and cultural plurality, and Islamo-Christian dialogue at the level of life, culture and politics. For a man who grew up in mostly Latin Catholic Poland the Holy Father went beyond his cultural comfort level and developed a love for the Churches of the East and for the country of Lebanon that was refreshing and surprising to say the least. Some attribute his love for Lebanon to his gratitude for having accepted so many Polish seminarians and priests who need shelter during the Nazi and later Communist oppression of the Church. The Holy Father knew of them personally and mentioned this during his Lebanon visit.

Likewise, the Pope expressed his respect for Lebanon in many diplomatic and ecclesial interventions since his earliest days after his pontifical election in October, 1978. However, the succession of wars in Lebanon, started in 1975, and caused by internal, regional and international interferences, prevented any intervention. When weapons were silenced in the Fall of 1990, Pope John Paul II was quick to call for a Synod for Lebanon. He did this June 12, 1991, and followed his convocation by a message to all the Lebanese people as well as a letter to the Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Lebanon (July 1991).

The Synod's objective was simple: spiritual renewal with penance and reconciliation within Lebanese society and a new solidarity among all the Lebanese. The Synod was addressed directly to the faithful of the Catholic Church - Maronite, Melkite, Armenian, Syriac, Chaldean and Latin - and indirectly to the four Orthodox Churches - Antiochene, Armenian and Syriac - as well as to Assyrian and Evangelical Christians. The Synod aimed to establish with all Christians a bond of prayer, consultation and cooperation. Also, Muslim communities - Sunni, Shiite and the Druze - were invited to the Synod in order to help both Catholics and Muslims understand the meaning of the Synod and to better cooperate together in overcoming misunderstandings and obstacles.

The Pope's visit to Lebanon May 10 and 11, 1997 to celebrate the closure of the Synod for Lebanon and to deliver the Apostolic Exhortation had a tremendous effect on promoting Lebanon, the country, as a message and an ideal model to the East and the West. Likewise, on the ecclesial level, a renewal of Christians had begun by their working together in better harmony. They became more aware of their spiritual, social, cultural and political role in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East as well as of their apostolic mission. The upcoming beatification of Pope John Paul II May 1, 2011 will attract thousands of Lebanese.

The recent Synod for the Middle East held in October 2010, an amazing celebration of unity in diversity which brought such hope to Christians of the Middle East, could only have been convoked after the Synod for Lebanon held fifteen years earlier along with the follow-up Special Assembly in Lebanon convoked for all the Eastern Churches in 1999. The solidarity, cooperation and friendships that were formed before, during, and after the Synod for Lebanon allowed the 2010 Synod the special graces needed to deepen communion and make better the witness.

Another grace directly attributable to the intervention of Pope John Paul II in Lebanon was just recently celebrated March 25, 2011: the enthronement of the new Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter Rai. On this day, the Feast of the Annunciation, which for the last two years has been an officially established Christian-Muslim holiday in Lebanon, the background was set for the enthronement and the person enthroned as Patriarch, with his brother bishops surrounding him, with representatives of every Muslim and Christian communities present, and with every political leader likewise present, was the one whom Pope John Paul II had chosen twenty years previously to coordinate the beginning steps of the Synod for Lebanon, and who considers himself, along with the present writer, a spiritual son of Pope John Paul II.

These and many more graces were the result of the prophetic and courageous vision of one holy man who loved the world as God loves, who recognized in the Apostolic Churches of the Middle East a treasure, and who had the conviction and courage to call them not only to a greater Catholic-Orthodox unity, but also to better witness to non Christians the immeasurable treasures of Christ.

+ Gregory John Mansour
Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn
Holy Week 2011

4 posted on 03/16/2012 1:26:23 PM PDT by NYer (He who hides in his heart the remembrance of wrongs is like a man who feeds a snake on his chest. St)
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To: NYer

the Holy Father is a brave man....


5 posted on 03/16/2012 1:40:23 PM PDT by God luvs America (63.5million pay no federal income tax then vote demoKrat)
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To: God luvs America

I’ll be surprised if he isn’t killed.


6 posted on 03/16/2012 1:57:15 PM PDT by Marcella (Vote Newt; Newt needs money)
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To: NYer

God Bless Benedict XVI!


7 posted on 03/16/2012 2:34:12 PM PDT by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Marcella
I’ll be surprised if he isn’t killed.

Wishful thinking? Lebanon is still considered a christian country. He will be just fine!

8 posted on 03/16/2012 2:34:50 PM PDT by NYer (He who hides in his heart the remembrance of wrongs is like a man who feeds a snake on his chest. St)
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To: NYer

One of my friends from high school was a Maronite Lebanese.

Patty, if you are out there, Louis says hello.


9 posted on 03/16/2012 2:35:41 PM PDT by OpusatFR
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To: NYer

One of my friends from high school was a Maronite Lebanese.

Patty, if you are out there, Louis says hello.


10 posted on 03/16/2012 2:35:48 PM PDT by OpusatFR
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To: NYer

“Wishful thinking? Lebanon is still considered a christian country. He will be just fine!”

I’m Catholic, certainly don’t want him killed, but Hezbollah runs that place and last time I checked, Allah was their choice. I don’t think the Pope should go there.


11 posted on 03/16/2012 8:05:37 PM PDT by Marcella (Vote Newt; Newt needs money)
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