“Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today I would like to reflect on my recent Apostolic Journey to Lebanon. It had as its first priority the consigning of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente to the representatives of the Catholic Church from Lebanon and throughout the Middle East. I also had occasion to meet representatives of other Churches and ecclesial communities from the region, as well as Muslim leaders.
I was able to speak from the heart, to stand before the sufferings and the dramatic events in the Middle East, and to express my prayerful encouragement for the legitimate aspirations for peace there. I was deeply moved by the faith of the local Church, and I asked the faithful to keep their gaze fixed on Christ crucified, therein finding the strength amid trying circumstances to celebrate the victory of love over hate, of forgiveness over revenge, and of unity over division. I wish also to express my gratitude to the Muslim community, whose leaders welcomed me warmly, and to whom I proposed a message of dialogue and of collaboration. Finally, my thanks go once more to all who worked to make my Visit to Lebanon so memorable, and I assure all the dear people of the Middle East of my prayers and affection.
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present today at this audience, including those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Malta, Australia, Taiwan and the United States. Upon all of you, I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!”