Benedict faces high risk travel to Lebanon

Posted on September 13, 2012

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09/13/2012 15:38 By: Agencies
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VATICAN CITY (AP) Pope Benedict XVI will begin on Friday a three-day apostolic visit to Lebanon in a context of high risk, the inestabiliadad in the area and the recent protests in tension by rejecting an anti-Muslim video.

In the Pope’s journey highlights the political instability in neighboring Syria and tension generated in the area for attacks on U.S. embassies in various countries, after a movie, that offends Muhammad, the founding prophet of Islam.

According to the agenda of the visit, Benedict XVI will depart at 09:30 local time (07:30 hours GMT) on September 14 from Rome Ciampino Airport bound for Beirut, where it will arrive after a journey of about three hours and 15 minutes.

In the Lebanese capital will be received by President of the Republic, President of the Council of Ministers and the President of Parliament, in addition to the major Christian and Muslim leaders in the nation.

During the welcoming ceremony the Catholic leader will deliver a speech and then move to the Apostolic Nunciature in Harissa.

In the afternoon, visit the Basilica of St. Paul and there officially signed the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Ecclesia in Middle East ‘(Church in the Middle East), a document that contains the findings of a global summit of Bishops (Synod) held in 2010 at The Vatican.

In October of that year more than 400 bishops from around the world gathered in Rome to discuss the situation and make proposals for the future of Christians in that region. With all your contributions Pope wrote the letter.

Several copies of the document will be delivered by Benedict XVI to the presidents of the Republic, the Parliament and the Council of Ministers a day later, when you meet with them, in separate hearings, at the Presidential Palace in Baabda.

That will be the pope’s first public activity on Saturday 15 September, the day who will meet with the heads of Muslim religious communities, with government, national institutions, the diplomatic corps and representatives of the world of culture .

Afternoon plans to meet with young people in the square located next to the headquarters of the Maronite Christian Patriarchate Bkerké. The place can hold about 20,000 people.

The third and final day of the visit, on Sunday 16th, the Pope will preside at a Mass in the Beirut City Center Waterfront, a seaside esplanade that can accommodate hundreds of thousands of people and where John Paul II had already celebrated the Eucharist 1997.

After lunch leave the Nunciature Joseph Ratzinger and before departing for Rome, will attend an ecumenical meeting in the hall of the Catholic Patriarchate Charfet Siro.

Around 18:30 local time (15:30 GMT) will be the farewell ceremony at Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, after which the Catholic leader board the plane that will take them to the Italian capital.

Although the situation in the Middle East has been stressed in the past few hours, because of the attacks on U.S. embassies in Libya, Yemen and Egypt, the Vatican diplomats argue rest assured about the safety of the Pope.

You had said a few days ago papal spokesman Federico Lombardi, the journey proves a ‘determination’ of Benedict XVI to show its proximity to an area affected by a recurrent historical and political instability.

In an interview published by the Vatican newspaper ‘L’Osservatore Romano’, the ‘number two’ Catholic headquarters and Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, rejected the argument that the clash between Christianity and Islam is inevitable.

‘The hotline is clear: the Christian community tends an open hand in sign of dialogue and reconciliation. We observe, in the Islamic world, the signs of the desire to strengthen the hand and walk together ‘, established.

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