Pope, Bush Back Lebanon's Sovereignty and Independence

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Pope, Bush Back Lebanon's Sovereignty and Independence

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:00 am

Pope
Benedict XVI and U.S. President George Bush have expressed concern over
Christians in war-torn Iraq, agreed on the need to create a Palestinian
state, and said Lebanon must be free of undue foreign influence,
according to a joint statement released by the White House.


The
two "devoted considerable time in their discussions to the Middle East,
in particular resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict in line with
the vision of two states living side-by-side in peace and security,
their mutual support for the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon,
and their common concern for the situation in Iraq and particularly the
precarious state of Christian communities there and elsewhere in the
region," the joint statement said Wednesday.


Benedict
and Bush also "reaffirmed their total rejection of terrorism as well as
the manipulation of religion to justify immoral and violent acts
against innocents."


The
45 minute talks in the Oval Office were followed by a prayer service
with hundreds of American bishops at a national shrine in Washington.


Benedict told the Roman Catholic leaders that the clergy sex abuse scandal has sometimes been "very badly handled."

He
said that it was important to remember that the vast majority of
priests served faithfully but that it also was the bishops' "God-given
responsibility" to reach out to those who had been "so seriously
wronged."


Earlier
in the day, Benedict drew an adoring crowd of 13,500 people to the
South Lawn, where his 81st birthday was celebrated complete with
choruses of "Happy Birthday" and a big cake.


The
warm feelings didn't stop the pope from gently nudging the U.S. in a
White House speech to use diplomacy to resolve international disputes.


"America
has traditionally shown herself generous in meeting immediate human
needs, fostering development and offering relief to the victims of
natural catastrophes," the pope said. "I am confident that this concern
for the greater human family will continue to find expression in
support for the patient efforts of international diplomacy to resolve
conflicts and promote progress.


Picture:
Pope Benedict XVI (L) and US President George W. Bush walk along the
Colonnade following an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn at the White
House in Washington, DC. Pope Benedict XVI, making the first White
House papal visit in nearly 30 years, pleaded Wednesday for a peaceful
end to global disputes as thousands of joyful well-wishers sang him
"happy birthday. "(AFP/Tim Sloan)


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