September 14th, 2012
12:46 PM ET

Pope Benedict begins trip to Lebanon amid Mideast protests, violence

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Beirut, Lebanon, on Friday for a previously scheduled trip as anti-American protests and violence spurred by an anti-Islamic film roiled the Mideast, including in Lebanon.

Police killed one person in Tripoli, Lebanon, on Friday after a group of armed men stormed a restaurant amid protests in the city, Lebanese security forces told CNN.

"I have come to Lebanon as a pilgrim of peace, as a friend of God and as a friend of men,” Benedict said in a public address Friday afternoon at Beirut’s airport, where he was greeted by Lebanese President Michel Sleiman.

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“Looking beyond your country, I also come symbolically to all the countries of the Middle East as a pilgrim of peace, as a friend of God and as a friend of all the inhabitants of all the countries of the region, whatever their origins and beliefs,” Benedict said as he began a three-day trip to Lebanon.

About 40 armed men were spotted among hundreds of protesters in Tripoli on Friday, Lebanese officials said.

Anti-American rage sparked by an online film that insulted Islam's prophet boiled over Friday among Muslims in at least half a dozen countries, as the United States stepped up security at diplomatic posts across the Middle East.

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Aware that protests were planned for Friday - the Muslim holy day - the United States beefed up security at its embassies and consulates across the Middle East.

The unrest began Tuesday when outrage over a 14-minute American-made online video that mocks the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and ruthless killer sparked riots at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Four America consulate staffers were killed, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

U.S. officials suspect that a group sympathetic to al Qaeda used the protests over the film as cover for the complex and well-coordinated attack on the consulate.

In Lebanon, Benedict praised the Lebanese people for providing a model on how believers of various religions could coexist peacefully, calling it an “equilibrium” that is “extremely delicate.”

“Sometimes it seems about to snap like a bow which is overstretched or submitted to pressures which are too often partisan, even selfish, contrary and extraneous to Lebanese harmony and gentleness,” Benedict said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Lebanon • Middle East

soundoff (417 Responses)
  1. lolita

    the pope said once that the teaching of Mohammed were evil. He almost got his ass chewed by these peaceful loving Muslims. He is gonna get his butt kicked next

    September 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Lady N

      He didn't say that! That was a quote that he didn't support!

      September 15, 2012 at 4:58 am |
  2. Grand Ole Party of Christian Taliban

    Well now wouldn't that be something to see....muslims stringing up the Pope on a stake. My heart would just go piddddder padddder. lol

    September 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Grand Ole Party of Christian Taliban

      Or pope on a rope . lol

      September 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  3. Luke Emery

    As an atheist I am glad to see that the Roman Catholic Pope has moved towards supporting a secular state, and attempting to help the issue in the Arabic world. It is actually quite refreshing. Compared to the usual gay-bashing and politization of birth control, this is actually something that I feel can help the situation. For the Islamic people to see that the most prominent religious leader call for peace and mutual understanding is a fantastic thing to behold.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  4. 2357

    How will they RPG-proof the popemobile?

    September 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Colgate with Gardal


      Why would they need to? "Jesus" is supposed to be the "knock, knock, invisible shield"!

      September 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • 2357

      Historically Jesus is known to "let things play out", that's why.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • My Prayer

      Please, Jesus, "let things play out"... please, please, pleeeeease.

      September 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  5. JohnnyC

    The Catholic Faith is real.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • johnny

      The Catholic Faith is real(ly) silly.

      Actually they all are. Islam, Judaism and Christianity all pray to and worship the same supposed deity. What's up with that?

      September 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Simran

      The Catholic faith is real. So was my faith in the tooth fairy, till I grew up!

      September 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • MDAT

      Well,The science they spout isn't.

      September 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  6. Christian from Lebanon

    Pope's visit to Lebanon means a lot to us as Christians . Lebanon should be a model to other Middeast countries around us .

    September 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • dm

      I couldn't agree more. It's a damn shame that other middle eastern counties treat their Christians so poorly.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  7. Sam Yaza

    cant you christian, Jews and Muslims hurry up and kill your selves, and give us our mother back, your sky gods calling you go their now the faster you all just die, the faster we can go back to creating paradise on earth. if you don't like it here hurry up and go to heaven; your making this place worst for those of us who do like it.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • dm

      who are you referring to? atheists?

      September 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • MDAT

      DM You just don't know.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      were in my post did you get Atheist from, dm

      September 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  8. BurnNotice

    Who, beside the brainwashed and pathetic, takes this clown seriously?

    He parades around in a house-coat, pretending that he doesn't have a penis.

    How many deformed, mentally ill, or Black children has he adopted?

    September 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Sam Axe

      You know Catholics... bunch of b!tchy little girls.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Efren

      The Catholic Church according to statistics is actually the worlds largest charitable organization! Even larger than the UN! There's thousands of Catholic hospitals, soup-kitchens, shelters, homes for the sick and dying, and orphanages through out the world. So your argument is invalid!

      September 23, 2012 at 4:14 am |
  9. William Demuth

    More gas on the fire

    I would STRONGLY suggest Christians anywhere near Northern Africa lay as low as they go.

    As far as Obergrupenfuhrer Ratzinger is concerned, he may not realize it, but he would make one hell of a hostage.

    It seems the world is NOT in the mood to be respectfull of each others religions at the moment, so unless the Vatican has a "Jeebus Team Six" extensively experienced in hostile extractions from third world hell holes, he might ant to ease up on the propoganda for a few days.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • sam

      +1 for 'Jeebus Team Six'.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Jesus team six is done, when they came after me a while ago the hit a wall...Of Lilim...needles to say they succu.mbed... and had their souls ripped out. all those years of training, for what, to lose to some t!its and Tail. that what you get from coming to from the most s3x4@lly repressed religion


      you cant go blind blowing your load
      and that's why God's a liar, LIAR

      September 15, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  10. Sam Yaza

    i hope he stops by one of the many brothels and casinos in Lebanon

    seriously how can we call America free if we outlawed "those"

    were losing the freedom race to a middle eastern county people, because of our religious extremist

    September 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  11. Tutuvabene

    Sadly, the Pope won't be able to eat at KFC in Tripoli. Its been burned down by Islamists.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  12. Rational Libertarian

    Lock up your little boys my Middle Easters friends.

    September 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    September 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  14. Belief Blog Staff Meeting in 10 Minutes

    Hey, the Muslims are taking too much heat. Quick, switch the stories back to the Catholics.

    September 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  15. Joey Ratzinger

    I'm Christ's representative on earth. I know that sounds pretentious, but I guess that's the way about a billion people see me. Really I only represent a few pedophiles and a bunch of strange celibate old men. If you want to kiss my ring you're welcome to.

    September 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • dcmortimer

      Sad stupid person , you don't know the spiritual life you only cherry pick what you think is wrong with the Catholic faith , stay in your bigoted mind im sure the pope is praying for you.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  16. Mitch

    Benny, were a cup, someone may try and kick you in your drooping ba–s.

    September 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Dink

      Isn't it a bítch when you try to make a smart-ass comment and you f'k it up? Damn. I bet you hate it when that happens.

      September 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  17. How Ironic

    Here is the leader of a criminal organization that uses child molestation, extortion, murder, misogyny, and blackmail to visit their spiritual brothers in Lebanon.

    How Ironic

    September 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • sendai

      They really had to do so much just to go to Lebanon? I think I would just buy a ticket and go (if I wanted to go to Lebanon).

      September 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • How Ironic

      Ha ha. Very funny. Yes, the Pope got there using money extorted from people who have been molested as children by RCC officials in their official capacity. He didn't need a ticket as the RCC has extorted trillions from the world economy.
      Religions terrorize people into believing and acting out on those beliefs.
      That makes all of this ironic whenever religious believers are involved in any way.

      September 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Bob

      There will always be some bad apples in the cart, but the Catholic Church has fed, healed, housed, educated and extended kindness to millions of people throughout history. It's easy to hate when you're an atheist and have no significant numbers and no organization with which to help anyone. Atheists have never healed, housed, fed, or educated anyone. All they are is critics, which is the easiest and least useful thing in the world to be.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, World Health Organization, Greenpeace, Kiva, Donors Choose, Union of Concerned Scientists, ACLU, Amnesty International, Oxfam, Population Connection, Mercy Corps, Electronic Frontiers Foundation, International Peace Insti/tute, Secular Humanist Aid and Relief Effort , Atheist Relief Fund, Secular Center USA, HIVOS, Earthward Inc.... etc etc.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • johnny

      Good one Doc 🙂

      September 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Bob

      Yeah, out of the organizations you list, just a couple actually feed, clothe, house, heal, and educate the poor, if that, and only a couple actually do real work at all, not to mention that only a couple define themselves as atheistic organizations. And if you want to get into the dirty politics that sometimes rears it's head in Catholicism, take a look closer at some of the organizations you are attempting to venerate here. Even at that, you're talking about the tiniest drop in the bucket.

      You don't seem to grasp how much the Catholic church has contributed to charity, education, and medicine over the last thousand or so years. Hospitals, orphanages, universities, there have been times when the Catholic Church was the ONLY organization contributing to these kinds of things. The amoutn of money and manpower they have put on the street for the beneift of the poor and underprivileged is literally matched by no organization worldwide in the course of HISTORY.

      You're going to seriously try to compare that to the "Atheist Relief Fund"? LOL, they have like 10 members and $20.

      And BTW, Melinda Gates is a practicing Catholic. I'm sure she doesn't consider her organization to be an atheist one.

      September 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If Melinda Gates is a devout, practicing Catholic, how is it that she vociferously opposed teh Vatican on core issues like birth control?
      You said "Atheists have never healed, housed, fed, or educated anyone."
      You understand that the vast majority of research scientists, pharmaceutical biochemists, neuro-surgeons, surgeons, psychiatrists, and kinda most of the medical community are agnostic/atheist?
      And if you want to use the Vatican's history over the last 1,000 years as evidence of how good Catholics are, be prepared for counter examples from that same historical period for how barbaric, violent, and backwards they are.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Bob, all anyone has to do to prove you are a complete liar about atheists helping others is for them to visit richarddawkins.net. I await your admission that you are a liar.

      September 15, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  18. Reality

    Money wasted as the "vomit-inducing" ped-ophilia and coverup will simply hasten the decline of all religions as they finally go extinct from their own absurdity.. It is time to replace all religions with a few rules like "Do No Harm" and voluntarily convert all houses of "worthless worship" to recreation facilities and parks.

    September 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  19. Christianity source of Christianfilthyracism.

    Only by Christianity absurdity of a Christian, Christian and pagan. Filthy Christian Captain Crunch dog. Filthy pagan islam pig dog. Filthy Randy Jackson dog. Filthy hebrew national pig dog. no dogs! Who let them be out? Quran means nothing else but path of triple abdullah absolute quantified. please visit ahmadinebinpaid.com/blog.html and click on word Choice to open file. But turn virus protection off before.

    September 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      hindism absurdity of a hindu ID thief.

      September 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  20. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Why folwloer of hindu Mithra ism, pagan savior ism labeled as Christianity are not welcome by Muslim's, To know causes of mayhem among humanity, handy work of hindu Jew's, criminal self centered, denier of truth absolute and thir hinduism, fabrication, hindu Mithra ism pagan savior ism, labeled as Christianity, please visit http://www.limitisthetruth.com/blog.html and click on word Choice to open file.

    September 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Pete

      The above post can be translated as follows:

      I am angry because I have a small weiner and my wife left me for a Hindu.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • dcmortimer

      What was that crap you just wrote, it made no sense, just sounded irritating .

      September 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.