By Erika Solomon and Tom Heneghan in Beirut, Reuters, September 16, 2012
Pope Benedict urged Middle Eastern Christians on Sunday to work for peace and against "the grim trail of death and destruction" in the world, in a sermon delivered in Lebanon as civil war raged in neighboring Syria.
Benedict was speaking at an open-air Mass on Beirut's Mediterranean seafront attended by 350,000 worshippers, according to the organizers' estimate, and leaders of Lebanon's Christian and Muslim communities including from militant Shi'ite group Hezbollah [....]
Benedict appealed on Friday for an end to the import of weapons into Syria, branding it a "grave sin" and saying a halt to the arms flow could help end the civil war [....]
Pope: Multi-faith Lebanon should be model for Middle East
By Philip Pullella and Tom Heneghan in Beirut, Reuters, September 15, 2012
Pope Benedict urged multi-faith Lebanon on Saturday to be a model of peace and religious coexistence for the Middle East, which he called a turbulent region that "seems to endure interminable birth pangs".
The pope, on the second day of a visit clouded by war in neighboring Syria and protests across the Muslim world, told a gathering of Lebanese political, religious and cultural leaders that religious freedom was a basic right for all people.
Christianity and Islam have lived together in Lebanon for centuries, he said, sometimes within one family. "If this is possible within the same family, why should it not be possible at the level of the whole of society?" he asked.
"Lebanon is called, now more than ever, to be an example," he said, inviting his audience "to testify with courage, in season and out of season, wherever you find yourselves, that God wants peace, that God entrusts peace to us" [....]