Pope Benedict Goes To Lebanon Day 1 - Pre Flight Pics , Links, and Resources that has some article and resources.
It might be helpful to get a visual view of the trip and for that I thank the people who put this together on this page
Places on the Holy Father's Lebanon program other than Beirut are Harissa, Baabda, Bzommar, Bkerké, and Charfet. (All are located within 10-30 miles from Beirut). Harissa is a mountain location a few miles inland from the capital, looking down on the Mediterranean. It is the site of the Apostolic Nunciature, where the Pope will be staying, as well as two major churches.Other than Beirut and Harissa, the other place names are not indicated on the map because they are not population centers. Baabda is east of Beirut and south of Harissa, while Bzommar, Bkerke and Charfet are all slightly northwest of Harissa (nearer the sea. Right photo shows the location of St Paul's Cathedral and the Shrine to our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa
Melkite Greek Catholic Basilica of St. Paul, where, on the afternoon of his arrival, the Holy Father will sign his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation that formally summarizes the Special Synodal Assembly on the Middle East held in October 2010
The Pope has arrived in Lebanon. I got a couple of hours of sleep and got up to watch it. He looks rested and in good shape to my eye. His remarks at the airport I think set the right tone and were well received from the crowd from what I could tell. Full text is here Pope in Lebanon: Arrival speech (full text) . I liked this part:
I cannot forget the sad and painful events which have affected your beautiful country along the years. The successful way the Lebanese all live together surely demonstrates to the whole Middle East and to the rest of the world that, within a nation, there can exist cooperation between the various churches, all members of the one Catholic Church in a fraternal spirit of communion with other Christians, and at the same time coexistence and respectful dialogue between Christians and their brethren of other religions. Like me, you know that this equilibrium, which is presented everywhere as an example, is extremely delicate. Sometimes it seems about to snap like a bow which is overstretched or submitted to pressures which are too often partisan, even selfish, contrary and extraneous to Lebanese harmony and gentleness. This is where real moderation and great wisdom are tested. And reason must overcome one-sided passion in order to promote the greater good of all. Did not the great King Solomon, who knew Hiram, King of Tyre, consider that wisdom was the supreme virtue? This is why he pleaded to God for it insistently, and God gave him a wise and intelligent heart (1 Kg 3:9-12).
As per custom the Pope does sort of a Press Conference type thing on the plane. The English translation of that is available here.
The Pope spoke and signed the Apostolic exhortation for Middle East today at the Melkite Greek Catholic Basilica of St. Paul . See the full text of his speech here. Of interest to note the Pope took full advantage of the today's Feast day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the connection to Emperor Constantine the Great which was interesting. Here is a part :
Providentially, this event takes place on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, a celebration originating in the East in 335, following the dedication of the Basilica of the Resurrection built over Golgotha and our Lord’s tomb by the Emperor Constantine the Great, whom you venerate as saint. A month from now we will celebrate the seventeen-hundredth anniversary of the appearance to Constantine of the Chi-Rho, radiant in the symbolic night of his unbelief and accompanied by the words: “In this sign you will conquer!” Later, Constantine signed the Edict of Milan, and gave his name to Constantinople. It seems to me that the Post-Synodal Exhortation can be read and understood in the light of this Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and more particularly in the light of the Chi-Rho, the two first letters of the Greek word “Christos”. Reading it in this way leads to renewed appreciation of the identity of each baptized person and of the Church, and is at the same time a summons to witness in and through communion. Are not Christian communion and witness grounded in the Paschal Mystery, in the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ? Is it not there that they find their fulfilment? There is an inseparable bond between the cross and the resurrection which Christians must never forget. Without this bond, to exalt the cross would mean to justify suffering and death, seeing them merely as our inevitable fate. For Christians, to exalt the cross means to be united to the totality of God’s unconditional love for mankind. It means making an act of faith! To exalt the cross, against the backdrop of the resurrection, means to desire to experience and to show the totality of this love. It means making an act of love! To exalt the cross means to be a committed herald of fraternal and ecclesial communion, the source of authentic Christian witness. It means making an act of hope!
Here are a few articles:
Pope calls for "full rights for Catholics in the Middle East” -Vatican Insider
Syrian refugees in Sabra and Shatila Palestinian camp ask: “Can the Pope do something to help us?” Vatican Insider
I liked this post that focused on a part of the Pope's arrival speech. See The Pope in Lebanon: The links between Lebanon and the Successor of Peter are ancient and deep -RorateCaeli
The New York Times has their first piece up. Pope Benedict Arrives in Lebanon Amid Turmoil
. The comment he looked tired when he got to Lebanon. I got up at 5 am to watch his arrival and he did not look tired to me.
John Allen at NCR has a important piece here at 'Statehood for Palestine now', patriarch tells pope. I am for a two state solution but count me skeptical that it can occur now , or it will give all these wonderful benefits to the Arab world. End of commentary on that.
I am going to fill out DAY 1 with more stories as they become available and more pics this evening.So check back