The 52nd session of the Assembly of Patriarchs and Catholic Bishops (Apecl) opens. The cardinal recalls the value of "civilization" of the Land of Cedars. It has "a role and a mission" for the region. Religious affiliations and loyalty to political leaders restrain the country's future.
Beirut (AsiaNews) - "Today, Lebanon is no longer governed by armed militia, but by political militias, an unacceptable fact", said Maronite Patriarch, Card. Bechara Raï, inaugurating the 52nd session of the Assembly of the Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon (Apecl) dedicated to teaching catechism as an integral part of evangelization. The first day of meetings was held on 12 November last, in the presence of all the Eastern Catholic patriarchs and of the apostolic nuncio, Msgr. Joseph Spiteri.
Lebanon, underlined the cardinal, "is a precious model of civilization", which "we must safeguard and make effective". It "has a role and a mission" to be carried out in the region thanks to "its geographical situation and its political structure". It represents "a factor of stability" and a "testimony for all".
Patriarch Raï still points to threats and challenges that "come from outside" and "weigh on constitutional institutions" and on their "good functioning". However, this does not deprive the Lebanese "of their freedom" deriving from their "exclusive alliance with Lebanon".
Added to these is "growing poverty" due to a "suffocating economic and social crisis, an increase in unemployment and high prices". For a long time the Lebanese Church has denounced a situation of serious difficulty, exacerbated among others by the consequences of the war in neighboring Syria which has triggered an unprecedented humanitarian emergency.
"What worries and disturbs the population - warns the Maronite patriarch - is the negligence of the officials and the exclusive attention they devote to their private interests", so much so as to appear "hostile towards the rule of law and social justice". "This is why - he concludes - the alliance with Lebanon is weakening. The person no longer counts for his intrinsic value [...] but for his belonging to a religion, a party and, even more humiliating, his alliance to a zaïm (leader, in the Muslim world) ".