The bells rung out across Beirut to welcome the Pope at the start of his three-day visit to the Lebanese capital. Heavy security ahead of the Pontiff’s motorcade was a stark reminder of how religion can divide.
In his strongest comments yet on the conflict in Syria the 85-year-old leader of the worlds Roman Catholics branded the import of weapons as a, “grave sin” while speaking to journalists on his flight to Beirut. “We have to import ideas of peace and creativity,” he added.
In Saint Paul’s Basilica overlooking the Mediterranean Sea Pope Benedict XVI called on Christians, Muslims and Jews to “root out” religious fundamentalism.
The Pontiff’s visit marks the first papal trip to the country in 15 years when he will meet politicians and leaders from Lebanon’s 18 religious groups, many of whom are divided over the conflict in Syria.