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"Pope's trip to Lebanon is also important for Muslims"

2012-07-16

MSGR. ANTOINE GEBRAN
Representative of the Maronite Patriarchate in Rome
"The Holy Father's visit is very important for all Catholics and also for non- Catholics. It's also important for Muslims and even non-Christians, because they see the Pope as a moral reference.”

This will be the third time a Pope visits Lebanon. It will also mark the second time a Pope will deliver an apostolic exhortation in that country.

MSGR. ANTOINE GEBRAN
Representative of the Maronite Patriarchate in Rome

"Pope Paul VI made a stop in Beirut on December 2nd 1964. Then 15 years ago, John Paul II signed the apostolic exhortation in Lebanon, where he famously said that Lebanon was not only a country, but a message.”

It will be a key visit for Benedict XVI, since he will deliver the apostolic exhortation to Catholic bishops, and therefore the Church in the Middle East. That text is based on the conclusions of a 2010 synod that Middle Eastern bishops held at the Vatican.

MSGR. ANTOINE GEBRAN
Representative of the Maronite Patriarchate in Rome
"The post-synodal exhortation calls on Christians to be witness of faith, throughout the Middle East. That way, people of all religions can see Christ reflected in them.”

Lebanon has an area of roughly 4014 square miles. It has a population of about 4 million people, of which 53% is Muslim. Forty percent is Christian and 6.4% practice other religions.

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