Pope Benedict XVI has urged young Lebanese Christians to be a model of religious peace for the entire Middle East.
Addressing a crowd of 15,000 on the second day of his visit to Lebanon, he spoke of the beautiful symbiosis that exists between Lebanese Christians and Muslims.
Referring to neighbouring Syria, where a vicious war is raging he said:
“I have learned that among you there are young people who have come from Syria. I want to tell you how much I admire your courage. Tell your families and friends that the Pope has not forgotten you. It is time for Muslims and Christians to unite, to put an end to violence and war.”
The Pope had begun the day in a meeting with Lebanon’s Christian president, Sunni Muslim prime minister and Shi-ite parliamentary speaker.
Later, he urged all the people of the Middle East to say ‘no’ to vengeance and to violence and he told thousands of young Lebanese not to let discrimination, unemployment and instability drive them to emigrate abroad.