Report: Pope’s Lebanon Visit May Be Postponed over Dangerous Local, Regional Developmentsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The Vatican has completed with the Lebanese authorities the program of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Lebanon in September, reported the daily Ad Diyar on Sunday.
It added however that Vatican authorities are “beginning to study the possibility of postponing the visit over the dangerous situation in Lebanon and the region.”
The Vatican said in July that the pope will bring a message of peace for the Middle East on his three-day trip to Lebanon.
The 85-year-old German pontiff will meet with a variety of religious leaders during his visit to multi-faith Lebanon, which will be his 24th foreign trip since he was elected pope in 2005 and is one of his most sensitive missions.
The pope is expected to emphasize the need for peaceful coexistence between Christian and Muslim communities in the Middle East, as well as caution against the growing exodus of Christian minorities from the birthplace of Christianity.
The pope will begin his visit on September 14 with a trip to the Basilica of Saint Paul in Harissa.
On September 15 he will meet with President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Miqati and then go on to meet Muslim religious leaders.
He will then visit the Armenian Catholic patriarchate in Bzommar and meet with young people in front of the Maronite patriarchate in Bkirki.
The centerpoint of the visit is expected to be the pope's message of peace at an open-air mass on September 16 at the City Center Waterfront in Beirut, which will be followed by a visit to the Syrian Catholic patriarchate.