· Pope's Appeal to ensure humanitarian assistance to the people of the country ·
Lebanon to be the next Apostolic Visit
On Tuesday morning, 21 June, in the Clementine Hall, the Pope met with the members of the Assembly of Organizations for Aid to the Eastern Eastern Churches (ROACO). During the meeting the Holy Father made an appeal to end to violence in Syria and underlined the need for humanitarian assistance to the people. The Pontiff hopes that every effort may “be made, including by the international community, to bring Syria out of the present situation of violence and crisis”. A situation, he added, that has “lasted a long time and risks becoming a wider conflict that would have highly negative consequences for the country and the whole region”.
Benedict XVI, reaffirming his closeness for the suffering of the population in particular to “innocent children and the defenceless”, he strongly advocated that “necessary humanitarian assistance be guaranteed” to the many people forced to flee their homes to take refuge in neighboring countries. May “our prayer, our commitment and our active brotherhood in Christ, as an oil of consolation, help them not to lose sight of the light of hope in this moment of darkness, and obtain from God wisdom of heart for all in positions of responsibility so that bloodshed and violence, that only bring pain and death, may cease and give way to reconciliation, harmony and peace”.
In his Address the Pope pointed out the negative effects of the severe economic and social situation, which in Eastern countries, “the motherland of ancient Christian traditions, is especially affected by this process, which engenders uncertainty and instability that also has an impact on the Church and in the ecumenical and interreligious fields” underlining that “these factors tend to reopen the endemic wounds of history and have a damaging effect on dialogue and peaceful cohabitation among peoples. They also weaken authentic respect for human rights, especially the right to personal and community religious freedom”. This right, he continued, “should be guaranteed in its public profession, not only in terms of worship, but also in relation to the pastoral, educational, charitable and social activities”.
Benedict XVI then mentioned his upcoming Journey to Lebanon, scheduled for 14 to 16 September.
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