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Lebanese Reflect on Pope's Legacy


Pallbearers carry the coffin of Pope John Paul II during the funerals in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican
In Lebanon, Christians and Moslems united in mourning the pope. Businesses ground to a standstill in many places as people stopped work to watch the funeral ceremonies.

Church bells across Lebanon tolled to mourn Pope John Paul II on the day of his funeral, as many of the country's 1.5 million Catholics gathered to pray.

Journalist Mohammed Chakkour of Lebanon's National News Agency explains that in many villages people stopped what they were doing to pay tribute to the Holy Father.

He says bells tolled, and many mourners flocked to churches in the southern Lebanese towns of Magdoucheh, al-Hajjeh, Aadousiya, Darb el-Sim, and Zeghdraya on the outskirts of Sidon.

Here in Beirut, at Lebanon's central bank, ordinarily a hive of activity, few employees appeared to be working and most eyes were glued to the TV set.

Even the local grocer in Beirut's Zarif district, a Sunni Moslem, watched the pope's funeral on TV intently, ignoring customers.

Lebanon's five TV networks, in addition to most of the Arab satellite TV channels, covered Pope John Paul II's funeral live and newspapers paid him a glowing tribute.

Beirut's An Nahar newspaper dubbed John Paul, "Lebanon's pope" for having the courage to visit the war-torn country in May 1997.

Only a handful of Islamic extremists voiced disapproval, calling other Moslems "infidels" for watching the funeral.

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