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Pope celebrates open-air Mass on Beirut

Pope Benedict XVI is celebrating an open-air Mass on the seafront in Beirut on the concluding day of his three-day visit to Lebanon, BBC reports.  Hundreds of thousands cheered and waved flags as the popemobile made its way through the crowds to the stage.The visit has coincided with anti-US protests across the region over a film deemed insulting to Islam. On Saturday the pontiff met Lebanese political leaders at the presidential palace near Beirut. Later, he traveled to the town of Bkerke to address a gathering of thousands of young people.In his speeches on Saturday, the Pope said that Lebanon, with its religiously mixed population, should be an “example” to the region.“In Lebanon, Christianity and Islam have lived in the same space for centuries,” he said at the presidential palace in Baabda near Beirut. “It is not unusual to find, in the same family, both religions. If this is possible in one single family, why would it be impossible at the level of the society as a whole?” he asked. The Pope’s three-day visit marks the first papal trip to Lebanon since John Paul II went there in 1997.

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