“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

Pope Has Been Pressing for Mideast Peace / Expressed 3 Appeals in Lebanon-Israel Strife

The tragedy in Lebanon and Israel has been the issue most referred to by Benedict XVI both in his public and private meetings during July and August.

The tragedy in Lebanon and Israel has been the issue most referred to by Benedict XVI both in his public and private meetings during July and August.

The Pope has repeatedly presented the Holy See’s position, expressed in three appeals: an immediate cease-fire, humanitarian aid for tormented populations, and dialogue that takes into account the rights of all states and peoples involved in the conflict.

Both in his spontaneous meetings with journalists during his July 11-28 holiday in the Aosta Valley, as well as his meetings last Sunday and Tuesday with pilgrims to pray the Angelus, peace in the Middle East has been constantly on Benedict XVI’s lips.

In an interview with German-speaking television channels and with Vatican Radio, broadcast last Sunday, the Holy Father was asked about the Mideast.

“Of course we have no political influence and we don’t want any political power,” Benedict XVI said. “But we do want to appeal to all Christians and to all those who feel touched by the words of the Holy See, to help mobilize all the forces that recognize how war is the worst solution for all sides. It brings no good to anyone, not even to the apparent victors. We understand this very well in Europe, after the two World Wars.

“Everyone needs peace. There is a strong Christian community in Lebanon, there are Christians among the Arabs, there are Christians in Israel. Christians throughout the world are committed to helping these countries that are dear to all of us. There are moral forces at work that are ready to help people understand how the only solution is for all of us to live together. These are the forces we want to mobilize: It’s up to politicians to find a way to let this happen as soon as possible and, especially, to make it last.”

Envoy sent

As a concrete contribution to peace, the Pope requested Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, the retired president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to travel as his envoy to Lebanon to take to all those suffering in the region the expression of his spiritual closeness.

The visit had an essentially religious character and culminated with a Mass, over which the cardinal presided, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa on Tuesday, the solemnity of the Assumption, with the participation of Cardinal Pierre Nasrallah Sfeir, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites.

Also congregated that day at the Pope’s request to pray for peace were pastors and faithful of the Church in the Holy Land.

The Eucharist was concelebrated by the papal representative in Israel and Palestine, Monsignor Antonio Franco, by Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem and by Catholic ordinaries of the Holy Land.

Last Friday, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the U.N. office in Geneva, addressed the special session of the recently formed Human Rights Council, dedicated to the situation in Lebanon.

Not by force

“The Lebanese people have a right to the integrity and sovereignty of their country,” the prelate explained. “The Israeli people have a right to live in peace in their own state; and the Palestinian people have a right to have a free and sovereign homeland.

“The violence of these weeks is destroying a promising model of national conviviality, built over centuries, where a plurality of communities, even of very different religious convictions, learned that the only way to live in peace and security and to use their human resources and diversity in a creative way, is dialogue and close cooperation.”

The papal representative continued: “May law never reach the point of sanctioning results obtained by force alone. That would be the ruin of civilization, the defeat of international law, and a fatal example for other areas in the region and, in fact, for the world.”

2006-08-18T00:00:00+00:00 August 18th, 2006|Categories: News|