Archive for September 10th, 2012


Beirut (Agenzia Fides)  On the evening of September 12, the eve of the Pope’s arrival in Lebanon, four processions of young people will depart from four points of Beirut to converge in the so-called “garden of Mary”, in the Museum Square area, carrying candles and flags of Lebanon. There, around eight o’clock in the evening, the meeting will begin, with a program including songs, Muslim-Christian readings and prayers to ask God and the Mother of Jesus that the papal visit is welcomed by all and lived as a blessing for the Country of the cedars. “The title of the initiative is ‘together in peace, love, freedom and security’. It will be a national and popular holiday, to show to the world that Lebanon can be in this moment in history the Country of coexistence between Christians and Muslims,” explains to Fides father Antoine Daou, Secretary of the Commission of the Lebanese episcopal Conference for dialogue with Islam. The meeting will be attended by representatives and authorities of all religious communities in the Country, along with thousands of faithful. Among the main sponsors of the initiative there are also several organizations of Muslim-Christian dialogue, from Ensemble Autour de Marie, which in recent years has given rise to joint Muslim-Christian celebrations on the feast of the Annunciation. Since 2010, this feast has been proclaimed a national holiday, with the declared intention to find in the devotion to Maria – shared also among Muslims – a point of convergence among the different religious communities. The wake on September 12 – explains Father Daou – is not an isolated event: in these days there are hundreds, in every Lebanese diocese, initiatives of prayer and reflection with which the faithful of the various Christian communities prepare themselves to meet the successor of Peter: “All the Lebanese, all the political and religious leaders – including the Hezbollah, Druze, Sunni political leaders – are waiting for the Pope’s visit as a grace for Lebanon, which can favor a moment of true national unity, beyond division, and show the whole Middle East world that Lebanon can be a model of coexistence.” (GV). (Agenzia Fides 07/09/12)

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No, not by Muslim terrorists, by Israeli extremists. This is but one of many recent attacks on Christians and Muslims by ultraorthodox Jews. The picture shows the monastery entrance, defaced with Hebrew graffitti:

Monastery entrance, defaced with Hebrew graffitti

 Catholic News Service has details:

Vandals burned the door of a Trappist monastery outside Jerusalem and spray-painted a wall with the names of illegal Israeli outposts, one of which had been evacuated two days earlier.

In addition to the names of the outposts — Jewish enclaves not approved by the Israeli government — the vandals scrawled slogans against Christianity including “Jesus is a monkey” on the walls on the Latrun monastery, best known for its contemplative monks and wine-making. The monastery, about 20 miles west of Jerusalem, sits on a hill overlooking the road linking Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Trappist Father Louis Wehbee, who is responsible for the formation of novices at the monastery, said a monk heard a noise outside early Sept. 4 and went to investigate. He found the wooden door in flames and alerted the other monks. He was able to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher.

”We were very surprised and can’t understand why this has happened,” Father Wehbee told Catholic News Service in a phone interview. “Never in our 122-year history here has something like this happened to us. We are opened to all people, we have good relations with everybody. What makes us sad is the graffiti which they wrote against our faith. If there are political tensions, why are they taking it out against our religion?”

A day earlier, Israel authorities had evacuated residents from an unauthorized Jewish enclave in Migron, West Bank. Migron was one of the names spray painted on the wall.

Police said they had been preparing for such a so-called “price tag” attack against a Palestinian or Muslim target, which has been the recent modus operandi of a group of extremists following an outpost evacuation or other government action that they oppose.

Acting Jerusalem District Police Commander Meni Yitzhaki, who visited the monastery 4 Sept, said he had appointed a special investigator to look into the incident.

You can find more background and additional details at the link.

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