Skip to comments.Maronite priest says Muslims will welcome Pope to Lebanon
Posted on 09/14/2012 12:10:23 PM PDT by NYer
.- The Rector of Rome’s Pontifical Maronite College predicts that all the people of Lebanon – Muslims included – will welcome Pope Benedict XVI to their country at the start of Apostolic Visit Sept. 14-16.
“Muslims are also waiting for the Holy Father’s visit and there will certainly be many who await the moments Pope’s arrival at the airport and drive to the nunciature,” said Msgr. Antoine Gebran who was back in his homeland recently to witness preparations for the 3-day visit at first hand.
“One of the Muslim leaders said, ‘We must welcome the Pope with the streets covered in roses.’ That is, it’s a sign of eastern spirituality.”
Msgr. Gebran spoke to CNA before this week’s outbreak of militant Muslim protest against United States diplomatic missions in the Middle East. The violence was sparked by the posting on YouTube of extracts of a low-budget US film mocking the Prophet Mohammed, the 6-7th century founder of Islam.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11 a mob stormed the United States consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi which left four Americans dead including the US ambassador to the country, J Christopher Stevens.
While similar protests have not emerged so far in Lebanon, recent events are likely for form a backdrop to Pope Benedict’s discussions with Muslim leaders on Saturday, Sept. 15. Msgr. Gebran feels that the Pope has a particular ability to bring peoples and religions together.
“All await the Pope with pleasure, because they see the Pope not only as a religious, Catholic or state leader, no, in Lebanon there are many state leaders. They see him as a symbol, as the successor of Peter and an apostle of peace.”
The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic Church that is in full communion with the Bishop of Rome. It forms just one element within Lebanon’s patchwork of religious communities.
It is estimated that around 60 percent of Lebanese citizens are Muslim with an even split in numbers between Shia and Sunni Islam. There is also a small but historically significant Druze community.
The Christian population constitutes about 39 percent of the population manifested in various Catholic and Orthodox churches. The Maronite Church is the largest such Christian group with 23 percent of the population as adherents.
“So, the papal visit important for everyone: Catholic Christians, Orthodox Christians, Sunni and Shia Muslims and the Druze,” Msgr. Gebran suggested.
The highpoint of the Papal Visit will be the Pope’s signing of his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Church in the Middle East on Friday Sept. 14.
“The most important part of the visit is to confirm that he chose Lebanon because in Lebanon all of these confessions are found, not only Catholics or Orthodox, but all of the communities that believe in God,” said Msgr. Gebran.
Lebanese Muslim Shi'ite children wait for the car carrying Pope Benedict XVI to welcome his arrival outside Beirut international airport September 14, 2012.
Banners erected by Hezbollah depicting Pope Benedict XVI as well as Lebanese and Vatican flags decorate a main airport road in Beirut, September 13, 2012, in preparation for the pope's arrival.
The relationship between christians and muslims in Lebanon is unique. Both Popes JPII and B16 have offered up that relationship as a model for other nations to follow.
I saw the KFC picture earlier but thought you should also see these photographs taken today when the pope arrived. For us in the west, the notion of christians and muslims getting along, is foreign. Yet, in Lebanon, this is how life has been for centuries. The extremists who burned up the KFC are outsiders. Lebanon is a mecca for christians and muslims fleeing persecution. Not surprisingly, fanatical muslims have also taken up residence there.
All fine and dandy, except for that bloody civil war between Muslims and Christians that lasted for a few decades a little while ago. Lets see, Hezbollah, the Meriabotoun (sic), the Falange, the PLO, the Syrian army, and many more in the cast of blood thirsty characters. Place sounds like a hoot.
Unless he is protected like the POTUS (and that is not even a guarantee) he will be a martyr for Christianity
Best he stay home and putt around St Peters square in his pope mobile
I wish they would get it through their heads that it is not the peaceful people of Lebanon that are any threat. It is the now enormous number of fanatical Muslims in the region, not just terrorists in Lebanon, but in Syria and even Iraq and Jordan and Egypt, who are willing to do anything to kill the Pope.
They will travel to Lebanon to do so. They will be willing to kill hundreds of people on the chance of killing the Pope.
Car bombs, suicide bombers, snipers, mortars and rockets, IEDs, RPG’s, you name it and they are more than able to do it.
They don’t care if it starts a war, because they *want* a war.
Let’s just hope it’s not a warm welcome, courtesy of the molotov cocktails.
They are fully aware of this.
Lebanese Army soldier searches a civilian with a detector near Beirut international airport, September 14, 2012, before the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI.
Our previous pastor, Lebanese, was one of 7 brothers. One of them is a high ranking officer in the Lebanese Army. A few years ago, Hezbollah incited some riots up north and the army was called in to squelch the action. Despite full body armor, Aziz was injured when the bullet passed through the front and rear of his armor. Here again, even in the military, both christians and muslims serve, side by side. According to the Lebanese Constitution, the President is always a Maronite (Catholic) and the Prime Minister is always a Muslim (Shiite). It works.
Thank you for your concern. The Holy Father trusts in God and nothing was going to stop him from making this trip. Consider the prayer all christians share, the one given to us by Christ, Himself: The Our Father. What is it we say in that prayer? Thy will be done..
I had this same discussion yesterday with my pastor, who comes from Lebanon. True faith is trusting in God's plan for you. If someone wants to kill the pope, they can accomplish that goal anywhere. Driving around Vatican square in the Pope Mobile will not deter anyone from shooting their intended victim.
The vehicle may be bullet proof but the pope still has to walk to and from the vehicle. When he visits foreign countries, he often waves to the crowds from the popemobile, by bringing down the windows.