08/10/2006, 00.00
LEBANON - VATICAN
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Card. Mc Carrick visits Patriarch Sfeir

by Youssef Hourani

A visit by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray is scheduled to take place next week

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is in Lebanon on behalf of the American bishops to express solidarity with the Lebanese people and to assess, from close at hand, possible ways of helping them as they endure Israeli air raids and a displacement crisis.

Cardinal McCarrick, the Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, yesterday landed by helicopter in Beirut airport, where he was welcomed by the Vatican Nuncio Mgr Luigi Gatti and Mgr Roland Abou Jaude, the delegate of the Assembly of Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon. He immediately went to visit the Shiite neighbourhood of Nabha that was destroyed by Israeli air raids and later he went to the headquarters of Caritas Lebanon. In a meeting with Fr Louis Samara, chairman of that body, he gave assurance of the concern and support of the American bishops for the people of Lebanon.

In the afternoon, Cardinal McCarrick went to Dimane, the summer seat of the patriarchate, where he met Cardinal Sfeir for more than an hour and a half.

AsiaNews sources revealed that in the dialogue, Cardinal McCarrick expressed his condemnation as well as that of all the American bishops for the violence that has destroyed Lebanon. Patriarch Sfeir gave him a dossier about the country situation.

A visit by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, President Emeritus of Justice and Peace, is scheduled for next week. The visit of the French cardinal will be of a more official nature. He will meet not only Catholic bishops but also the highest-ranking state officials: President Emile Lahoud, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and the Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

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