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Lebanon’s Catholic Leaders Urge Peace Through Dialogue

11 Dec 2012 – By Doreen Abi Raad

BEIRUT (CNS) — Lebanon’s Catholic leaders urged their people to work toward dialogue and to reject violence and war.

In a statement following their annual meeting in early December, members of the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Lebanon expressed their concern about “the repercussions of bloody events in the region, especially in Syria,” and the impact on Lebanon’s “internal unity and our security and civil peace,” as well as its effect on the economy, trade and tourism.

They called upon the Lebanese to “show solidarity with the peoples of the region fighting for justice, dignity and freedom to decide their own destiny, while rejecting violence and war” and working for peace and justice “through dialogue, negotiation and national reconciliation.”

The meeting was held at Bkerke, the patriarchal seat of the Maronite Catholic Church, north of Beirut, and was chaired by Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Peter.

The church officials recognized Caritas, a charitable aid agency of the Catholic Church, for its efforts inproviding aid to Syrian refugee families and children in Lebanon — particularly in the border areas of the Bekaa Valley and the north of Lebanon — as well as helping those trapped in some Syrian villages.

They called upon the faithful to “deepen the culture of dialogue” in all possible areas, including schools and universities, within the family, in social encounters and even in the political arena.

Church leaders also called for dialogue in developing a new electoral law. They urged the formation of a new government in Lebanon that would organize elections within the period allowed by the constitution.

Lebanon is set to elect new parliamentary representatives in 2013, but the country’s political circles are divided over the adoption of a new electoral law to govern the vote.

Referring to Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic exhortation on the church in the Middle East,presented during his visit to Lebanon in September, the patriarchs and bishops appealed “to everyone to work for the unity and solidarity and the spirit of brotherhood” and for spiritual, cultural and national values.

“It is God’s will that the human family live in unity and harmony,” they said.





Tags: Lebanon Pope Benedict XVI Catholic Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter Dialogue