Pope urges Lebanese to find 'reasonable compromise' to end bloody conflict

Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday urged the Lebanese people to find a "reasonable compromise" to end their conflict, which has escalated in recent days from political stalemate into the worse sectarian violence since its 1975-1990 civil war. Benedict told pilgrims in St. Peter's Square that he was following "with deep concern" the developments in Lebanon, where, "with political initiative at a stalemate, first came verbal violence and then armed clashes, with many dead and wounded." "I vigorously exhort all Lebanese to abandon every kind of aggressive confrontation that would bring their dear country toward the irreparable," Benedict said. "Dialogue, mutual understanding and the search for reasonable compromise is the way to give back to Lebanon its institutions and to the population necessary security for a dignified daily life rich in hope for tomorrow," the pope said. He prayed that Lebanon would "respond with courage to its calling to be, for the Middle East and for the entire world, a sign of the real possibility of peaceful and constructive coexistence."