08/20/2019, 08.00
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Maronite Patriarch: religious and cultural diversity, to save Lebanon from current drift

Cardinal calls on population to "abandon" the dominant logic of self and reach out to eachother.  This is the "key" of dialogue "in the family" and in "social and national life".  The government must implement an economic and financial recovery plan, targeting "smuggling".  Support for struggling teachers and pursuing the goal of "justice in truth" against torture and violence.

Beirut (AsiaNews / OLJ) - The Lebanese must be reconciled with "the religious and cultural diversity" that characterizes the Land of the Cedars.  This was stated by the Maronite patriarch, Card Beshara Raï, returning once again to the tensions that animate a nation defined as "adrift" due to the decisions of politicians and institutions unable to safeguard a mosaic that is unique in the world.  "Moving out of oneself towards the other - the Cardinal said to the faithful in the Sunday Mass - is the key to dialogue and common living, in the family as well as in social and national life".

From the summer patriarchal see of Dimane, in northern Lebanon, Card. Raï explained that without this openness "social life disintegrates" and remains subject "to the antagonisms of partisan and political belonging".  On the national level, he adds, "enmities" multiply and the crisis worsens as "accusatory speeches" multiply in the media and online.

The Cardinal hopes that the government will be able to implement the economic and financial recovery plan, recently developed in the Baabda summit.  The condition, he warns, is that the state "controls smuggling in ports and airports, as well as at borders, a reality that managers know only too well".

Turning to the heads of state, politicians and institutions, the Maronite patriarch asked to take on the payment of six months of back wages, which belong to private school teachers.  Many of these, in recent days, have taken to the streets to demonstrate against the lost wages.  Card Raï also looked at the dismissals that schools would be forced to carry out and the social crisis that would result in the event of a lack of support.

 "As Christians and as Lebanese - he underlined - we are obliged to spread the culture of dialogue [...], the culture of justice in truth, away from oppression, from coercion obtained through blows and torture, aimed at extorting false testimonies".  The reference is to the accusations recently launched against the heads of the internal security services and their director Imad Osman, who would have used "artfully constructed files" and endorsed "torture" against prisoners in the institution's most hidden cells.

 The previous day, August 17, the Cardinal sponsored a dinner organized by the University of the Holy Spirit of Kaslik, organized by the Maronite Foundation in the world;  an event in honor of a hundred young Maronites who have won a competition in the 16 countries of the Maronite diaspora in the world.

At the end of the convivial dinner, the participants gathered in the presence of the Cardinal, the Apostolic nuncio in Lebanon, Msgr.  Giuseppe Spiteri, of the superior of the Lebanese Maronite Order Nehmetallah Hachem and of the highest offices of the foundation.  Among the various interventions stand out those of three Maronite personalities, presented as models for young people: Tom Barrack, advisor to the US president Donald Trump;  Gilbert Chaghouri, entrepreneur in Nigeria;  Riad Salamé, governor of the Bank of Lebanon.  All three have emphasized the exceptional cultural and political character that distinguishes the Land of the Cedars.

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