Benedict appeals again to end Mid-East violence

Reacting to deadly clashes between supporters and opponents of Lebanon's government and between Hamas and Fatah forces in Gaza, Pope Benedict has renewed his appeal for an end to violence in the region while emphasising the need for "new ways of rationality".

Releasing two doves from his apartment window on Sundaym Pope Benedict appealed for dialogue, saying he was saddened by the pain inflicted on the Lebanese and Palestinians populations, the International Herald Tribune reports.

Referring to Lebanon, the Pope said it was "unacceptable that one should take this path to affirm one's political reasons".

"I feel immense pain for that dear population, and I know that many Lebanese face the temptation of abandoning all hope and feel somewhat disoriented by what's happening," the pontiff told the faithful gathered for his Sunday prayer.

Last week, deadly clashes between pro and anti-government supporters in Beirut left four people dead and dozens injured.

Benedict also appealed for the cessation of violence in the Gaza Strip - where dozens of Palestinians have been killed in recent gunfights - "as soon as possible," and called on all involved to "work together for the common good" and seek peaceful solutions.

The Pope also returned to the theme of faith and reason, according to AsiaNews.

Referring to philosopher and theologian St Thomas Aquinas as "a compelling model of harmony between reason and faith, dimensions of the human spirit, that are fully realised in their meeting and dialogue", the Pope called for a rediscovery of "new ways human rationality" that are "open to the light of the divine Logos and its perfect revelation Jesus Christ, Son of God made man".

He noted that by rediscovering reason open to faith it is possible to engage in dialogue with non-European cultures which view with concern and fear the atheistic culture of the West.

"With far-sighted wisdom," the Pontiff explained, "St Thomas Aquinas was able to fruitfully relate to the Arab and Jewish ideas of his time so much so that he can always be considered a relevant teacher of dialogue between cultures and religions."

Pope meets Vietnam premier

Meanwhile, government-approved Vietnamese newspaper Nhan Dhan reports that Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung met with Pope Benedict XVI and held talks with Vatican Prime Minister Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone on 25 January.

According to the paper Prime Minister Dung affirmed that "the Communist Party and the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam have always respected democracy and the right to freely practice one's beliefs and religion, which have been written into laws, and consistently implementing them to facilitate the advancement of religious groups, considering this as an important element to ensure national unity".

The report says Cardinal Bertone requested that full diplomatic ties between the Vatican and Vietnam be established, which was acknowledged by Prime Minister Dung who proposed that both sides begin discussion on the matter in more detail.


SOURCE
Pope appeals for peace in Middle East (International Herald Tribune, 28/1/07)
Peace between faith and reason, in Lebanon and Gaza, says Pope (AsiaNews, 28/1/07)

ARCHIVE
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29 Jan 2007

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