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» 12/27/2011
LEBANON
Patriarch Rai: A weapons-free Lebanon
by Paul Dakiki
At Christmas Mass the head of the Maronite Church asks that the country be "demilitarized". Hezbollah only armed militant group remaining. The Mass was attended by the head of state, Cardinal. Sfeir, the nuncio and Christian politicians of opposing factions, such as Aoun and Gemayel.

Beirut (AsiaNews) - The Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai hopes that the government will undertake to liberate Lebanon from all weapons, leaving the national military as the only armed force. During the Christmas Mass celebrated Dec. 25 in Bkerke, Patriarch Rai pointed out that "it is the duty of the state alone to ensure public security and peace in the country, by collecting all the weapons and placing them under the sole control of the legitimate forces of Lebanon, Beirut and all of Lebanon will be weapons free. "

The words of the head of the Maronite Church seem to accommodate the desires of many parliamentarians who during the year, requested a "demilitarized" Beirut - after fierce gun battles between Hezbollah and members of the Islamic charitable Burj Abi Haidar - as well as a Tripoli without weapons.

But the Patriarch’s emphasis was on the situation of Hezbollah, the only military group that has never given up their arms, pleading with the need to be ready to fight against Israel. In this regard, the Patriarch added, "The State must also submit all the missions of defense and security decisions to the political authority and build confidence in its armed forces."

The Christmas Mass was concelebrated by Patriarch Emeritus Nasfrallah Sfeir and also the nuncio in Lebanon, Mgr. Gabriel Hunt.

The liturgy was attended by the head of state, Michel Suleiman, as well as Catholic politicians who are active in opposing groups, including leader of Kataeb, Amin Gemayel, and the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, Michel Aoun, a close ally of Hezbollah.

In his homily Patriarch Rai also asked for more justice and less corruption in the country, as well as a commitment to promote the living conditions of the Lebanese, tried by the economic crisis. He has also called for the Lebanese who fled to Israel to return to Lebanon and appealed for an amnesty on their behalf.

In 2000, on the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon, many Lebanese, including the South Lebanon Army soldiers, took refuge in Israel, fearing reprisals. Last November Mikati's government passed a law that accepts the return of these Lebanese, but excludes those who have fought in the South Lebanon army.

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See also
07/09/2010 LEBANON
Security Council meets over attacks on UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon
11/14/2008 LEBANON
Hezbollah wants a referendum on its weapons
02/15/2008 LEBANON
Hezbollah threatens “open war” on Israel
09/30/2010 LEBANON - VATICAN
Maronite Patriarchate warns of “tension rising” to the point of conflict in Lebanon
by Fady Noun
09/02/2006 LEBANON – UN
Italian troops start landing in south Lebanon

Editor's choices
CHINA - VATICAN
BREAKING NEWS: Chinese police seize two priests in Mutanjiang
by Bernardo Cervellera
CHINA-VATICAN
Nothing to toast between China and the Vatican: Beijing wants complete control
by Bernardo CervelleraFor the Global Times (the People's Daily) China does not like the "Vietnamese model" of agreed episcopal ordinations. The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s embarrassment in front of the Holy See’s countless efforts. China wants the Vatican to accept all excommunicated bishops and to keep silent on those who are underground and imprisoned. The case of Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang. Without religious freedom, diplomatic relations are pointless. The work of mission and the unity of Catholics in China. A task for Xi Jinping: implement the anti-corruption campaign in the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Patriotic Association, which have grown rich over the decades on the backs of Christians.
VATICAN
Pope: Christians are persecuted and the world tries to hide itDuring the Angelus, Francis prayed for the victims of today's church massacres in Pakistan. Before the Marian prayer, he said that God "loves us, really love us, and loves us very much! This is simplest expression that sums up the whole Gospel, faith, and theology. God loves us freely and boundlessly." The pontiff also spoke about typhoon victims in Vanuatu. "I pray for the dead, the wounded and the homeless. I thank all those who reacted immediately to bring relief and aid." The pope also made a plea on behalf of persecuted Christians. "May the persecution against Christians, which the world is trying to hide, come to an end, and may there be peace."

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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