Pope Visits Lebanon as ‘Pilgrim of Peace’

Posted September 14th, 2012 at 9:45 am (UTC-5)
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Pope Benedict arrived in Beirut Friday on a three-day visit to Lebanon.

The pope was welcomed by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and cheering supporters. He said he came to the region as “a pilgrim of peace, as a friend of God and as a friend of men.”

Pope Benedict is expected to meet with Lebanese officials and leaders of Christian communities as part of an effort to promote reconciliation between Christians and Muslims.

The pontiff warned again fundamentalism, calling it “a falsification of religion.”

The visit comes as a wave of protests has swept across the Muslim world over an Internet video that mocks Islam. It also comes as concerns grow about the crisis in Syria.

Before arriving in Lebanon, the pontiff told reporters on his plane that weapons sales to Syria were a “grave sin.” He also said the Arab Spring was a positive “cry for freedom.”

Nearly 40 percent of Lebanon's population is Christian.