In Castrolandia, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI refused to touch “politics” or “political ends.” Never mind the proverbial ten foot pole: in the kingdom of the Castro brothers, not even a mile long pole would have sufficed . He also refrained from declaring any type of violence as sinful, even as Castronoid goons assaulted a man right in front of him. He made no mention in Cuba of anything remotely political. Yet, in Lebanon today, he passed judgment on certain types of behavior as “grave sins,” condemned violence, and defended the sanctity of the “individual conscience.” He even dared to speak in favor of “freedom.” In Castrolandia, he also refused to spend any time with those of his flock who oppose a murderous regime, but gave an entire hour to the tyrant who enslaves them all. And while he held the tyrant’s hands, he never once upbraided him for his behavior.
One can only help but think that His Holiness judges nations on a sliding scale. Some are superior, some are inferior. Some deserve to hear him defend the full dignity of the human individual, created in the image of God. Some don’t.
And one cannot help but think of the shortest and most beautiful sentence in the New Testament. John 11:35: “Jesus wept.”
From the BBC, also responsible for Monty Python, Top Gear, and nearly every show PBS relies upon during its fundraising pledge drives.
Pope urges religions to root out fundamentalism
Pope Benedict XVI has called on Christians, Muslims and Jews to “root out” religious fundamentalism, on the first day of his trip to Lebanon.
His three-day visit marks the first papal trip to the country in 15 years.
During his stay, the pontiff will meet politicians and leaders from Lebanon’s 18 religious groups, many of whom are divided over the conflict in Syria.
The visit coincides with protests erupting across the Middle East and Asia over a film mocking Islam.
“Religious fundamentalism seeks to take power for political ends, at times using violence, over the individual conscience and over religion,” the Pope said.
“All religious leaders in the Middle East [should] endeavour, by their example and their teaching, to do everything possible to uproot this threat, which indiscriminately and fatally affects believers.”
The pontiff’s exhortations were made public as he signed recommendations on how to improve the lives of the Christian minority, making up 40% of Lebanon’s population, and its relations with Islam and Judaism.
Syria remains the defining issue in Lebanese politics – and Pope Benedict will find his followers deeply divided in that respect.
He also called for an end to the conflict in neighbouring Syria. Lebanon – including its Christian community – is deeply divided over the unrest there.
On his flight to Lebanon, the Pope told reporters that Syrian arms imports were a “grave sin”.
Pope Benedict described the Arab Spring as “a desire for more democracy, for more freedom, for more co-operation and for a renewed Arab identity”.
He was welcomed at Beirut airport by Lebanon’s President Michel Suleiman with a 21-gun salute, and with church bells ringing out around the country.
The Pope told President Suleiman he was visiting the country as a “pilgrim of peace”.
He added: “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 co-operation between the various churches and at the same time coexistence and respectful dialogue between Christians and their brethren of other religions.”
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