Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rahi, presided over Sunday’s Mass service in the “Church of Our Lady” in Bkerke this morning.
In his religious sermon, the Patriarch said that “the Gospel forbids hostility, hatred, killing, war, and striking with the sword, and calls for brotherhood, love, overcoming evil with good, and respecting human life, its dignity and sanctity,” adding, “The Gospel respects legitimate civil authority and calls on it to exercise justice in the service of citizens.”
He regretted, however, that all these teachings are missing in Lebanon, as the country enters its second year while the presidency of the republic is in a vacuum, with no serious talk about holding an election. “It is as if the vacuum is intended to continue dismantling state institutions, manipulating its employees, and implementing clientelism in its administrations,” Rahi said, criticizing the political officials for causing the loss of the world’s confidence in Lebanon.
“We must, whatever the cost, elect a president for the country and protect the institutions…It is truly shameful to hear talk about overthrowing the army commander at the most delicate stage of Lebanon’s life, security, stability, and dealings with countries…Such talk degrades the resolve of the army institution, which needs more help, encouragement, and alignment around it. At the same time, it is a source of citizens’ confidence and psychological and security stability,” Rahi underscored.
Referring to the tragic situation in Gaza, the Patriarch said: “How do we express our pain about what is happening in wounded and even destroyed Gaza, a destructive, genocidal war in which hatred and despite is poured out with the force of bombs, iron, and fire? The scourge of killing and displacement befalls innocent citizens who lose their homes and all the profits of their lives…How do the rulers of states and warlords absolve themselves of their crimes against humanity? We appeal to their consciences to stop the fire and to intensify medical and food aid to the displaced, the wounded, the hungry, and the naked.”
He continued, “As for the hateful and destructive war there, the only solution that brings peace is the establishment of two states as a result of calm and responsible negotiations and dialogue.”
“The time has come to give the Palestinians their rights. All those we met in Rome expressed their fear of the war spreading to Lebanon,” the Patriarch underlined.