Because of my travel and the need for a little down time, I didn’t do much with the Holy Father’s visit to Lebanon.
However, a few things have come to mind after some recent conversations and some reading.
First, even though there were a lot of risks, the Holy Father did not once consider not going on this trip.
After the terrorist attacks in Egypt and Lebanon, there were rapid press releases from the Holy See’s Press Office (which I didn’t especially care for at the time). The first of the releases aimed at the Middle East, surely made it possible for the Pope to go on that trip to Lebanon.
While I was not entirely pleased with the statements that came from the Holy See’s Press Office after those terrorist attacks, and while some might say that the Holy See should use a less temporizing voice, the Pope’s trip to Lebanon had a very important objective: let Christians of that region that they are not completely alone.
Christians there are vastly outnumbered, virtually forgotten, and in danger of the loss of their very lives. Christians are fleeing the region. Those who remain are in a tenuous position. Governments don’t give a damn about the basic human rights of Christians anywhere, much less in that region.
The only person those poor people have in their corner is Pope Benedict XVI and he traveled to be with them, even if briefly and under tight security. The trip was an act of physical and moral and pastoral courage. Some high level chess made it happen.
Some retrospect prompts me, again, to breathe deeply and read the press releases again and consider broader views. Not all press releases need to be subject to a deeper consideration, but these did.