Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pope will weigh in on Middle East

For Pope Benedict in Lebanon, the pastoral is political
A boy hangs out near his home in the Dbayeh Palestinian refugee camp, an all-Christian enclave outside Beirut, Lebanon.
This Catholic News Service story reflects on Pope Benedict XVI's trip to Lebanon Sept. 14-16. Assuming spillover from the civil war in neighbouring Syria doesn't force a last-minute cancellation of the trip, it says, his purpose will be above all pastoral; and, as usual for papal trips, most of his remarks will focus on the spiritual.

Yet as the Syrian conflict exemplifies, the concerns of Christians in the Middle East are in many respects inseparable from politics; and however diplomatically the Pope may word his statements, some will inevitably touch on the region's political struggles and tensions.
Pope Benedict's primary reason for visiting Lebanon is to deliver his document of reflections on the 2010 special Synod of Bishops, which was dedicated to Christians in the Middle East. At that gathering, bishops spoke out on a range of issues that included the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, dialogue with Islam and Judaism, and the emigration of Christians driven by persecution, military conflict, and economic hardship.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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