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    » 06/02/2011, 00.00

    LEBANON

    Lebanese Christians seek unity despite political differences



    Invited by Patriarch Rahi, Christian political leaders from both government and opposition met to talk. The issues on the table were the separation of religion and politics, the defence of Christian-owned land, a greater Christian presence in public institutions, the promotion of the common good, and the collective responsibility Christians have in promoting the values of the Gospel in society. A committee is set up to promote further meetings.
    Beirut (AsiaNews) – The separation of religion and politics, the defence of Christian-owned land, a greater Christian presence in public institutions and the promotion of the common good “for the betterment of the country, society and government” were the goals laid out by Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi at a meeting with 34 Maronite political leaders, from both the ruling coalition and opposition parties, held at the Patriarchal See in Bkerke.

    For Mgr Rahi, Lebanese Christians, independently of their political beliefs, have a “collective responsibility” to promote the values of the Gospel and the teachings of the Church in society.

    “We are here to examine our reality and decide how to improve it, despite [our] different political beliefs, which still follow our values and culture, in light of the teachings of the Church and Lebanon’s special character.”

    Before the meeting, an agreement was expected on two topics, namely the sale of Christian-owned land and the ways to enhance the Christian presence in public institutions.

    “Christians represent 30 per cent of the public work force. This is inacceptable,” Bishop Salim Mazloum said.

    “Only by participating in public institutions can Christians maintain an active presence,” the patriarch said.

    Some observers expected members of the ruling ‘8 March’ coalition to cause some difficulties with respect to Hizbollah’s weapons and the international tribunal investigating the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Apparently, the issues were discussed but nothing is known as to what was said.

    Still, the first comments following the meeting were positive. Participants also decided to set up a committee to prepare further meetings so that “Lebanon can remain an example of democracy and freedom.”

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    See also

    20/08/2014 LEBANON - IRAQ
    Patriarch al-Rahi in Kurdistan for the future of Christians and the fight against Islamists
    The cardinal makes a short one-day stop in Erbil accompanied by civil and religious leaders. He will meet with Kurdish President Barzani and visit the archbishop's see. The trip will focus on the fate of Christians fleeing jihadists and the possible use of force to repel the Islamist threat. The issue of relations with Islam and interfaith dialogue will also be discussed.

    27/05/2014 LEBANON - THE HOLY LAND
    Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi prays for peace at the Holy Sepulchre
    The cardinal continues his pastoral visit. Yesterday he did not accompany Pope Francis when the latter met with Israeli leaders. On 8 May, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the announcement of the patriarch's visit and, two days ago, awarded him the "Star of Jerusalem" for his visit to the city and for strengthening its ties with the Arab world.

    13/04/2016 19:06:00 LEBANON – GULF STATES
    Patriarch Rahi to meet Gulf States ambassadors to discuss expelled Lebanese migrants

    The meeting comes at a time of "great tensions" between Lebanon and the region's governments. For the local Church, it is "very important" to understand "the fate" of workers, who should be protected because they "have nothing to do with political tensions." At least 50,000 Lebanese live and work in the Gulf States.



    02/03/2006 LEBANON
    National dialogue begins as bishops distance themselves from Lahoud
    The president is a divisive factor among Lebanese and must "assume his responsibilities before God and History," say the prelates.

    11/01/2007 LEBANON
    Bishops act to end divisions between Maronite political leaders
    The initiative comes following the release of a statement last month highlighting the crisis within the Maronite community and offering some suggestions as to how to solve it. A bishops’ commission met Michel Aoun this morning and will meet Suleiman Frangieh and Samir Geagea later in the day.



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