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Pope calls on Christians to actively build peace in the Middle East

2012-09-16

Benedict XVI arrived in Beirut's City Center Waterfront in his popemobile. The site, which is very close to the sea, is very symbolic since it was built with the rubble left over from the civil war.

Surrounded with high security, the Pope was welcomed by Beirut's mayor who gave Benedict XVI the golden keys to the city.
The Mass was attended by roughly 300,000 people from throughout the Middle East. Among them were about 300 bishops from the region. During his Homily the Pope asked everyone to personally work toward building peace.

Benedict XVI
"It is urgent to get the service of justice and peace, in a world where violence continues to extend its trail of death and destruction, to compromise for the sake of a fraternal society, and to foster communion.”

The Pope then highlighted that the dignity of all people must be respected across the Middle East. He then made a direct appeal to Christians, so they may actively build peace with people from all faiths, in the region.

Benedict XVI
"It is an essential testimony which Christians must render here, in cooperation with all people of good will. I appeal to all of you to be peacemakers, wherever you find yourselves.”

During the Mass, prayers were said in French, Arabic and Latin. After the ceremony, the Pope gave the signed apostolic exhortation. He gave it to Catholic Patriarchs from the Middle East, Turkey, Iranian Bishops and also laymen.

The apostolic exhortation is seen as much more than just a document. It's seen as something quite symbolic for Christians living in one of the most troubled areas in the world.
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