On Violence and Conflict

"Why so much horror? Why so many dead?"

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BEIRUT, Lebanon, SEPT. 16, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before praying the midday Angelus in Lebanon. He had just finished celebrating an open-air Mass, and presenting the postsynodal apostolic exhortation "Ecclesia in Medio Oriente."

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Dear Brothers and Sisters, 
Let us now turn to Mary, Our Lady of Lebanon, around whom both Christians and Muslims gather. Let us ask her to intercede with her divine Son for you and, more particularly, for the people of Syria and the neighbouring countries, imploring the gift of peace. You know all too well the tragedy of the conflicts and the violence which generates so much suffering. Sadly, the din of weapons continues to make itself heard, along with the cry of the widow and the orphan. Violence and hatred invade people’s lives, and the first victims are women and children. Why so much horror? Why so many dead? I appeal to the international community! I appeal to the Arab countries that, as brothers, they might propose workable solutions respecting the dignity, the rights and the religion of every human person! Those who wish to build peace must cease to see in the other an evil to be eliminated. It is not easy to see in the other a person to be respected and loved, and yet this is necessary if peace is to be built, if fraternity is desired (cf. 1 Jn 2:10-11; 1 Pet 3:8-12).

May God grant to your country, to Syria and to the Middle East the gift of peaceful hearts, the silencing of weapons and the cessation of all violence! May men understand that they are all brothers!

Mary, our Mother, understands our concern and our needs. Together with the Patriarchs and Bishops present, I place the Middle East under her maternal protection (cf. Propositio 44). May we, with God’s help, be converted so as to work ardently to establish the peace that is necessary for harmonious coexistence among brothers, whatever their origins and religious convictions.