02/18/2005, 00.00
VATICAN - LEBANON

Papal telegram to Patriarch Sfeir for Rafik Hariri's death

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – A "criminal gesture which offends God and men, [who are] created in His image and likeness," said John Paul II about the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the Lebanese magnate turned politician, who died on February 14 in a car bomb attack in downtown Beirut.

In the telegram of condolences sent by Card Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State of the Holy See, to the Patriarch of Antioch and the Maronites, Card Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, the Pope said he was "praying ardently for the beloved land of Lebanon" and called on "all the Catholic faithful of Lebanon to a lasting commitment to peace and collaboration with all men of good will in order to build, through dialogue, a future of harmony in the country and among the peoples of the region."

Here is the full text of the telegram signed by Card  Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State:

"Following the terrible attack which cost the life of Rafik Hariri, former president of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Lebanon, as well as of numerous other people, the Holy Father greatly deplores this criminal gesture which offends God and men, created in His image and likeness. While praying ardently for the beloved land of Lebanon, he implores once again God's mercy on the Middle East, which aspires to a just and lasting peace. The Pope invites all the Catholic faithful of Lebanon to a lasting commitment to peace and collaboration with all men of good will in order to build, through dialogue, a future of harmony in the country and among the peoples of the region."

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