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POPE IN LEBANON/ If the US forgets Benedict

LORENZO ALBACETE comments on the Pope’s visit to Lebanon and on how his words could inspire and change people all over, if only the media would cover the event.

(Infophoto) (Infophoto)

Except for a brief mention on a news program, no one heard much about Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Lebanon in the midst of the conflict in the Middle East.

The Vatican's spokesman described Benedict XVI's speech this morning to political, religious and cultural leaders of Lebanon as “typical of the method of Ratzinger.” According to the Zenit report, “the address -- on the theme of peace -- goes to the very depths of what is needed to achieve peace, offering insights into the relationship between peace and anthropology, and the tactics of the devil in seeking allies among men.”

The president of Lebanon's Parliament said afterwards that “all the people and the politicians of the Middle East should hear, read and meditate on this speech of the Pope.”

The main point the Pope made was that effectiveness in the commitment to peace depends on an understanding of the dignity of all human life. “If we want peace, let us defend life!,” he exclaimed. “This approach leads us to reject not only war and terrorism, but every assault on innocent human life, on men and women as creatures willed by God.”

The Pope reflected that God chose the regions of the Middle East, “to be an example, to bear witness before the world that every man and woman has the possibility of concretely realizing his or her longing for peace and reconciliation! This aspiration is part of God’s eternal plan and he has impressed it deep within the human heart.”

The Holy Father said that a constant returning “to the wellsprings of our humanity” is necessary to find the energy to work for peace. “Our human dignity is inseparable from the sacredness of life as the gift of the Creator. In God’s plan, each person is unique and irreplaceable. A person comes into this world in a family, which is the first locus of humanization, and above all the first school of peace. To build peace, we need to look to the family, supporting it and facilitating its task, and in this way promoting an overall culture of life.” He added that wherever the truth of human nature is ignored, “it becomes impossible to respect that grammar which is the natural law inscribed in the human heart.”

The Pontiff spoke of various assaults on human life, including unemployment, poverty, corruption, a variety of addictions, exploitation, different forms of trafficking, and terrorism, adding that “we run the risk of being enslaved by an economic and financial mindset which would subordinate ‘being’ to ‘having’!

The destruction of a single human life is a loss for humanity as a whole,” he said. “Mankind is one great family for which all of us are responsible. By questioning, directly or indirectly, or even before the law, the inalienable value of each person and the natural foundation of the family, some ideologies undermine the foundations of society.