Ana Carbajosa / Pablo Ordaz Jerusalem / Rome 14 SEP 2012 – 14:38 CET
Benedict XVI has landed this morning in Beirut, where today a three-day visit to Lebanon. The trip will be marked by conflict resulting from the repression that followed the so-called Arab Spring. The first words of the Pope, just set foot on Lebanese soil, have made clear that curb the bloodshed in Syria is one of the main objectives of the visit. “The sale of arms to Syria is a sin,” Ratzinger said, according to Reuters.
The Pope arrives in a region much-needed message to the traveling peacemaker. Bleeds Syria, Lebanon falters, the Egyptian transition stumbled forward and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict there is no hope at this point. That was the situation until the day before yesterday, when an American film, which some Muslims consider offensive anger spread through the region. In the last hours, the protests against U.S. targets, some quite violent, have multiplied, without being very clear how and when it will stop the snowball. Shortly after the Pope’s arrival, several hundred people burned a fast food restaurant in Tripoli, a flashpoint city in northern Lebanon, where there have been violent clashes in recent weeks between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The regional turmoil has not discouraged however Razintger Joseph, who at 85 years landed Friday with his entourage in Beirut. “Tensions have made it even more intense desire of the Pope to go to Lebanon.” The words of the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, reflect how Joseph Ratzinger wants to exploit the situation in the area to reinforce the message with which the full-page headline Thursday L’Osservatore Romano : “Peace in respect of the differences “.
However, Benedict XVI will take particular care that none of the warring parties can use their speeches-act-eight in two days gain. “The Pope is not a political commentator,” said Monsignor Bertone in an interview with Le Figaro , “expect his apostolic exhortation is a kind of socio-political interpretation of the Arab Spring, or a specific political program for Christians-would misinterpret the teachings of the Holy Father. ”
Benedict XVI will spend three days in Lebanon, where it plans to ask peace for the Middle East and inject moral Christians of the region, for which unfavorable winds. The Christian community is dwindling, that is barely five percent of the population in the area. Christians also face the rise of Islamist movements, which the dictators of the Arab Spring and indirectly strengthened historically repressed. It is because in these countries close the gap between religion and state, something that worries many of the Christians, such as the Egyptians.
So, besides the logical appeals for peace in the region, the Pope also carries a more specific message addressed to Christians. During the general audience, in front of 8,000 people and speaking French, Joseph Ratzinger urged that Christians living in Muslim majority area not to leave the land where “born, lived, died and resurrected Jesus Christ.” That not only resist, but also become “peacemakers and agents of reconciliation.”