An estimated 20,000 people filled a Jordanian sports stadium as the Pope celebrated the first open-air mass of his Middle East tour. Pope Benedict XVI urged Middle East Catholics to persevere in their faith despite hardships threatening the existence of their ancient communities.
Earlier, the Pope visited a mosque in an attempt to mend fences with Islam after a 2006 speech caused offence. He stressed in his speech that Muslims and Christians worshipped the same God and urged Christians and Muslims to jointly defend religion from political manipulation.
In one section of his address at the mosque, Benedict referred to God as ‘merciful and compassionate’, using the formula Muslims use when speaking of God.