“Our mismanagement disgusts the whole world”

Expressing the world-inspired “disgust” for the “mismanagement”, “incompetence, lack of responsibility and contempt for the suffering of the people and Lebanon” of the Lebanese political class, the Maronite patriarch Cardinal Béchara Raï said at the meeting of the annual assembly of the Maronite Church that began last Monday. closed Saturday in a mass in the patriarchal seat of Bkerké, his work.

Bishop Rai urged leaders and the country’s political class to “end the practice of blocking”. “We refuse to spend the last months of this mandate under an interim government. We reject the presidential vacuum and the constitutional vacuum (which some observers predict), because this time is synonymous with developments that are difficult to control at the constitutional, security and national level (…) or we do not deserve this country and its pluralistic nature.

In addition, the head of the Maronite Church called on the international community and the UN to “find a definitive solution to the presence of Palestinian refugees and displaced Syrians on Lebanese soil”. He denounced the “integration, resettlement and naturalization” projects promoted by some, believing that this would serve “Lebanon’s independence, stability and unity” and “a symbiosis agreement that serves as the foundation”.

The patriarch welcomed the resumption of activities and funding from the UN refugee agency (Unrwa), but considered them “inadequate”. He said the Lebanese state should negotiate “redeployment” with the Palestinian Authority, the Arab League, the United Nations and major powers, given Israel’s policy that “every day displaces Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.” the number of refugees in countries that can demographically absorb them and provide them with a dignified personal and social life”.

As for the displaced Syrians, it is time to return to their homes, build their homeland, complete their history, and claim their civilization and land,” he said.

Priority to schools

Of the various topics reviewed during the Synod, schools that particularly deserve attention, highlight Mounir Khairallah, bishop of Batroun. “He has priority. After all, education comes before bread. Whatever the sacrifices, the educational mission of the Church must not be lost,” he added, without specifying how this sector would be saved from collapse, if not through private or international remedies and foreign aid.

The latest communiqué placed great responsibility on the Banks Association “responsible for seizing depositors’ funds” and on Parliament, which hastened to pass legislation to make those deposits “accessible again as soon as possible”.

The bishops nevertheless thanked all religious and civic institutions, international and local, for their contribution to supporting the daily, medical, hospital, school and university needs of Lebanese. paying for care, heating, lighting, or the education of their children. He also claims that, as Paul Abdel Sater, Maronite Archbishop of Beirut, knows, “it is a disastrous situation we have not yet experienced in its entirety.” In other words, we haven’t hit the bottom of the crisis yet.

The emergence of new communities

In addition, Maronite bishops reviewed the situation of Maronite dioceses abroad, especially as more Lebanese, especially young graduates and young couples, choose to leave Lebanon, at least temporarily. . According to a religious source, the migration of Lebanese is currently mainly towards the Gulf, where job offers are available, and more modestly towards Canada and Australia. Underlining this source, “But above all it is the Gulf where we must idyllicly follow the Lebanese”.

In principle, the Maronite synod had to make decisions about movements, groups, new communities that arose in recent years and lived without a clear pastoral following, to which bishops they belonged and without defined statutes. However, the latest press release doesn’t mention it.

The Maronite Church and the Vatican fear that due to insufficient spiritual formation these groups will degenerate into narrow ideologies or visions of the Church and want adequate pastoral attention to be given to them.

The synod also examined the situation in some dioceses, where the priests did not have enough resources to live with dignity, like others, which were affected by the economic crisis and “shared the suffering of their people”, the bishop of Batroun emphasizes.

Finally, the Maronite bishops officially endorsed Patriarch Rai’s campaign in favor of holding an international conference under the auspices of the UN advocating Lebanon’s neutrality.

warning effect

A week earlier, the patriarch had scolded the bishops at the opening of the annual retreat before the synod: “Our people criticize us, lose respect for us and turn away from the Church because of us. »

“We must lay the blame on ourselves, not on our priests and people,” he said.

In the final statement released Saturday following the synod work, the patriarch did not return to these protests. According to Mgr.Mounir Khairallah, this warning should alert bishops to the risks of “betraying the trust of the faithful, where the political class has already been betrayed.”

“This decision of the patriarch is not based on any particular fact, affirming for his part the patriarchal pastor, Bishop Paul Sayah, but reflecting the sense of personal and collective disgust we all feel at the way things are going. »

Finally, according to one religious source who wishes to remain anonymous, “The call for scrutiny of conscience and internal renewal of the Church is never too much, but what matters above all is what we do”.

Expressing the “disgust” inspired all over the world for the “mis-rule” of the Lebanese political class, its “incompetence, lack of sense of responsibility and contempt for the suffering of the people and Lebanon”, the Maronite patriarch Cardinal Béchara Raï was imprisoned during a mass held in his patriarchal seat on Saturday. .