Patriarchs and Bishops in Lebanon Call for Dialogue

Catholic leaders in Lebanon 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.

Cardinal Al Rahi presiding the annual meeting 

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 Cardinal Bechara Al Rahi, the Maronite patriarch.

The Church officials recognized Caritas, the Church's charitable aid agency, for its efforts in providing 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, universities and within the family, in social encounters as well as in the political arena. Church leaders also called for dialogue in developing a new electoral law. They also urged the formation of a new government in Lebanon that would organize elections within the period allowed by the constitution.

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