Pope Benedict XVI Tells Middle East Christians to Persevere

May 11, 2009

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Times


Pope Benedict XVI urged Christians in the Middle East to hold on to their faith and traditions at an open-air Mass attended by 50,000 worshippers.

He told them to work with other religions to enrich their daily lives and counter violent ideologies. “Be faithful to your roots,” he said yesterday in his homily at Amman’s largest football stadium.

“The Catholic community here is deeply touched by the difficulties and uncertainties which affect all the people of the Middle East,” he said on the third day of his week-long tour of the Holy Land.

“Fidelity to your Christian roots, fidelity to the Church’s mission in the Holy Land, demands of each of you a particular kind of courage — the courage of conviction, born of personal faith, not mere social convention or family tradition.”

Crowds of Syrian, Jordanian, Lebanese and Iraqi Christians shouted “Benedictus . . . Benedictus” as he arrived. He responded in Arabic, saying: “As-salaam aleikum”, or peace to you.