Call of the Maronite Bishops, April 03, 2013

On April 3, 2013, the Maronite bishops held their monthly meeting under the chairmanship of his Beatitude and Eminence, Patriarch Bechara Boutros Raï, with the participation of his Beatitude and Eminence the Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, and in the presence of the superior generals. After expressing their wishes for Easter to their sons and to all Lebanese, and gave thanks to God for having given the church a new Supreme Pontiff, in the person of the Pope Francis, and after discussing the situation in the country, the fathers have decided, due to the historical responsibility that falls on the Maronite Patriarchate, to send to the Lebanese in general and more particularly to those in charge, the following call:

The feast of the Resurrection is the victory of life over death and freedom over slavery, notably on slavery of sin which command humankind and which extends to the social-political structures. This Feast encourages us to make the reading of our critical reality which is at the mercy of more than a sin against the entity and the State. Also we decided to remind and to warn: Lebanon needs the spirit of Easter and to be relieved of acts committed against it. He needs a deep repentance due to the severe decline in attachment to the State, decline which failed to impair the entity. This manifests brilliantly in the weakening of the love of the homeland in many. This weakening goes hand in hand with the eclipse of the spirit of national and political responsibility among many officials in the public sector, and Lebanon finds itself prisoner of the political divisions at the risk of losing its national unity, existence of any condition.

The moment of truth has come. People in charge, we appeal to your conscience: the country is not a place for private projects, nor a field of experiments, nor a card in the hands of anyone or any State or party. The great responsibility that lies on you incites you not to falter before what threatens the State, its unity and cohesion. Lebanon cannot survive if each party seeks to impose on others by ignoring the truth on which the Country is based, namely, the National Pact, which is summed up in this: Lebanon is a country for all, its affairs are the responsibility of all in solidarity, without that one or the other category monopolizes anything. The national pact is now threatened by one-sided directives contrary to the spirit of the agreement. In fact,  agreements are only based on the postulates of the constitution, not on equations imposed by such and such.

These postulates require policy-makers to take account, inter alia, of the following:

1 - The Lebanese people shall not serve as fuel for any political conflict, they are citizens who have fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution which in the first place: the right to life, to freedom and progress, and no one is allowed to take away these rights. It is therefore incumbent on policymakers to protect these rights by not curbing the political power to personal considerations, and in not turning security agencies into negotiators with those who violate these rights. Policy makers have to comply with the procedures of the constitution, to separate security from politics for the good of all, not to make of security agencies political divisions, categorical or even regional, in order to neutralize them. We have all experienced the lack of seriousness in security and Lebanon should not slide into insecurity.

2 - The vacancies at the level of the executive positions makes no service to anyone, it rather introduces the country in a State of political chaos that nobody can guess the outcome. The experiences of previous governments show that any Government which founding, objective and goals are not purely Lebanese, i.e., not imbued by the constitution and the Covenant or based on the good of the citizens, resembles a building built on sand. Similarly, any Government deprived of general overview will fail, and any Government that stumbles at the start will end up being paralyzed. All this invites us to reflect deeply on what we need from Lebanese Governments, and the interests served by these Governments.

3 - Meeting the constitutional deadlines is the best proof of the sincerity of the different parties regarding the safeguarding of democracy and the constitution. These parties are responsible for lifting the political tutelage after the lifting, o how Sung, the military guardianship. A new electoral law is neither a point of view nor a negotiation. It is an obligatory question which cannot be overlooked. It is a question of law and fair application guaranteed by the national pact and the constitution. As a result, the laxity in electoral law which ensures the true representation of all, touches the bottom of the Pact and no one, in our opinion, is able to bear the results. Indeed, the Pact is not a matter of numbers, it is rather related to the nature of the Lebanese identity. Therefore, after studying for seven years electoral bills, members do not have the right not to ratify the fairer act, the more equitable and that suits all Lebanese, a law which replaces the 60 and avoids the country to renew the current status.

4 - The economic situation threatens the country to a bleak future. It is therefore the duty of the political class to reform. Indeed, the economy is one of the fundamental factors of stability. It is not a private resource annexing and endangering the country and the citizen.

5 - The question of the sovereignty of the State directs everyone to seek to assert the neutrality of Lebanon and its integration into the regional and international routes. Lebanon is neither a map nor a scene for parties to achieve their aims. We want it to be a beacon, not a small lantern, on the Mediterranean. This requires that people in charge be persuaded of the usefulness of this neutrality, and to work for getting a clear national and general will on this subject, and to seek to persuade international and regional instances of the positive role that Lebanon may play, free from regional conflicts, if it is given to its people to live in peace.

if Lebanon fails to return to what it was for all, a land of encounter and coexistence, a democratic State on the Mediterranean, its existence would no longer have any value. This requires a decision from all Lebanese , and no one else will replace them to make this decision.

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