A Christmas message from the Pope this Thursday is not only going to South Sudan but also to Lebanon. In a letter to Cardinal Bechar Botros Ra Franc, Francis expressed his displeasure for the people of Lebanon over their deep economic, social and political crisis.
Stefan von Kempis – Vatican City
It is a “word of comfort and encouragement” that the pope wants to address all Lebanese through the leader of the largest Catholic community in the Middle East, “regardless of their group or religious affiliation”. Francis writes, “I am saddened by the grief and despair that the cedar country has in typical agitation and livelihood.” “What’s more, it pains me to see how all hope for a peaceful coexistence is shaken.”
End of a model
In a positive reading, Lebanon is seen as a model of coexistence with its multitude of religious groups; Skeptics opposed this, saying that this model of internal balance of all forces had never worked properly, paralyzed the country for decades and now fell into the abyss. Francis also mentions in his letter that Lebanon is “indeed a message of freedom and proof of good co-existence” for “history and the world”. But now he deeply “realizes the seriousness of your loss, especially when I think of many young people who are deprived of all hope for a better future.”
“Providence Will Not Forsake Lebanon”
Francis’s letter makes no clear reference to the disaster eruption in the port of Beirut; From the beginning of August this explosion was a large part of the mosaic, disturbing the picture of a state run by its elite and now slipping into misery. But of course the Pope does not just want to make a lament, he also wants to give Lebanon hope: “Godly Providence will never leave Lebanon and will also know how to make this drama the best it can be.”
Like the cedars described in the Bible, Lebanese must now return to their roots to become “people of solidarity” again. “Just as the cedar survives every storm, you can also face momentary difficulties, such as respect, co-existence and pluralism.” Lebanese should no longer “leave their home and their heritage” so that they do not betray the “dream” of their ancestors, “who believed in the future of a beautiful and prosperous country”.
Appeal to the political elite
Francis appealed to political and religious leaders to step into his shadow and work together for the good of the country. “We help Lebanon stay out of the conflict and tension in the region,” he appeals to the international community. “Let’s help him get out of a serious crisis and recover.”
En Passant: “I want to travel to Lebanon as soon as possible”
In a subordinate section, the pope also mentions that he “wants to visit Lebanon as soon as possible”. The last pope to visit Beirut was Benedict Sixteenth in 2012 – on his last foreign trip. Pope Francis plans to visit Iraq next March if circumstances allow him. The 84-year-old Pope confirmed in his letter to political leaders divided in South Sudan, which was also published on Christmas Eve, that he would like to visit South Sudan’s Civil War country, but only in peaceful conditions Can travel