On the second day of his three-day visit to Lebanon, the first there by the head of the Catholic church since 1997, the Pope has issued a plea for religion to be a support for peace and democracy, not war and intolerance.
He warned fundamentalism was a “deadly threat” for the Middle East’s three monotheist religions, and called for its “eradication”. On Sunday he will deliver a road map for the Middle East to bishops in Syracuse, the fruit of a 2010 synod on the region.
“Obviously moral and physical violence must be banned, it is an affront to human dignity, as much for the perpetrator as the victim, and it will be by promoting peaceful work and its benefit for the common good that we create interest for peace,” said Benedict XVIth.
The Pope met Lebanon’s Christian president and his family, and Saturday will be spent meeting Lebanon’s other key figures, both political and religious, before dining with the Armenian patriarch, his colleagues, and bishops.
He then goes on to meet the Maronite patriarch before a rally for thousands of young people from across the Middle East.