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As part of a Middle East peace mission, the pope visited Lebanon for three days, meeting with Lebanese authorities and Christians from surrounding countries.
“I am not unaware of the often dramatic situation endured by the populations of this region which has been for too long torn by incessant conflict,” Benedict XVI stated in an Associated Press article. “I understand the anguish of many Middle Easterners steeped daily in sufferings of every kind, which afflict sadly, and sometimes mortally, their personal and family life.”
Before his visit, Catholic News reported that “the Lebanon-based leader of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church released his prepared welcoming remarks for the pope, including a call for the Vatican to use its ‘moral and diplomatic leadership’ in support of ‘international recognition of the Palestinian state.’ According to the remarks by Patriarch Gregorios III, such recognition ‘would be the most precious good that could be won for the Arab world in all its Christian and Muslim denominations.’”
In addition, the media outlet stated that the pontiff stressed that bringing “stable and lasting peace” to the region was vital for the entire world to obtain it: “We must not resign ourselves to the violence and aggravation of tensions,” the pope stated. “Commitment to dialogue and reconciliation should be a priority for all the parties involved, and should be supported by the international community.”