Despite Syria crisis Pope still planning Lebanon trip

Preparations for Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to Lebanon in September are going ahead despite the escalating conflict in neighbouring Syria, the Vatican said on Thursday.

“There is no uncertainty about the preparations,” Benedict’s spokesman Federico Lombardi said at a press conference. “The Holy See is doing everything to make sure the trip takes place as planned” on September 14-16.

But he cautioned that “the future is not in our hands”.

The Vatican Insider website said the Holy See’s “reticence at giving precise details of the voyage is telling of a desire to move slowly in a regional situation that is becoming more explosive daily”.

I.MEDIA, an agency specialising in Vatican news, had said Wednesday that the unrest in Syria and its impact on Lebanon had put Benedict XVI’s visit in doubt.

It “could be cancelled at the last minute”, according to unnamed sources quoted by the agency.

There are fears at the Vatican that the conflict — which activists say has claimed more than 14,400 lives since the Damascus regime began cracking down on protests in March last year — could spill over into northern Lebanon.

Top UN officials have described the situation there as a full-scale civil war.

Alberto Gasbarri, who is in charge of the logistics of the pope’s travels, will head to Beirut by the end of June to plan the visit.

The trip will mark the second to the region for Benedict, who was in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories in 2009. Some 35 percent of Lebanon’s population are Christians.

AFP

  • Constantin7

    A visit that will promote peace and love between humans in the battered Middle East is much needed these days and hopefully it will not be cancelled since all Chrisitians of the region and the muslims of the Levant are looking forward for it.

    • 5thDrawer

      Yes … needed. Some peace-talk on occasion could help for sure.
      And the ‘instant speculations’ in news items doesn’t help all the people seeking answers for their own frustrations. I read an article recently on the ‘new-tech’ stresses we place on whole societies with the volume or ‘information’ we think we need to have pumped at us on a constant basis – even when there is little value of thought in it. (see ‘tweats’) We lose sight of reality, and don’t know where to turn for ‘answers’.
      Personally, I find listening to waves lap a shore is a better reality than anything coming from ear-buds … and almost as pleasant as watching the girls on the beach in (or out of) bikinis. 🙂
      Reading all the ‘theories’ being promulgated along with the never-ending ‘dialogues’ will surely stress you out.
      Scotch can get me through here most times … haahahaha

  • Constantin7

    A visit that will promote peace and love between humans in the battered Middle East is much needed these days and hopefully it will not be cancelled since all Chrisitians of the region and the muslims of the Levant are looking forward for it.

    • 5thDrawer

      Yes … needed. Some peace-talk on occasion could help for sure.
      And the ‘instant speculations’ in news items doesn’t help all the people seeking answers for their own frustrations. I read an article recently on the ‘new-tech’ stresses we place on whole societies with the volume or ‘information’ we think we need to have pumped at us on a constant basis – even when there is little value of thought in it. (see ‘tweats’) We lose sight of reality, and don’t know where to turn for ‘answers’.
      Personally, I find listening to waves lap a shore is a better reality than anything coming from ear-buds … and almost as pleasant as watching the girls on the beach in (or out of) bikinis. 🙂
      Reading all the ‘theories’ being promulgated along with the never-ending ‘dialogues’ will surely stress you out.
      Scotch can get me through here most times … haahahaha