Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Wednesday, 15 September 2021
'The formation of a government paves the way for a potential papal visit to Lebanon'

By Courtney Mares/ :

The leader of Lebanon’s Maronite Catholics has welcomed the formation of a new Lebanese government after 13 months of political stalemate.


Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai congratulated Prime Minister Najib Mikati, President Michel Aoun, and the new cabinet of 24 ministers in a social media post that wished the government success in carrying out reforms and improving the living conditions for all Lebanese people.


The formation of a government paves the way for a potential papal visit to Lebanon.


Pope Francis previously said that he wanted to visit Lebanon once its leaders formed a government.


“His Holiness the Pope will visit Lebanon but after a government is formed. And this is a message to the Lebanese, that we must form a government so that everyone can gather to revive Lebanon with our friends,” Lebanese politician Saad Hariri said after a private meeting with the pope in April.


A Vatican official confirmed in June that the pope intended to visit Lebanon once it successfully formed a government, adding that the trip could take place at the beginning of next year.


Rai was in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, for the International Eucharistic Congress when the news of the formation of a new government was announced on September 10.


The Lebanese cardinal had been calling on the country’s political leaders for months to overcome partisan interests and form a government to help the country amid its economic crisis.


Speaking at a Vatican day of prayer for Lebanon this year, Pope Francis said: “In these woeful times, we want to affirm with all our strength that Lebanon is, and must remain, a project of peace. Its vocation is to be a land of tolerance and pluralism, an oasis of fraternity where different religions and confessions meet, where different communities live together, putting the common good before their individual interests.”


The Pope hosted the day of prayer for Lebanon with Catholic and Orthodox leaders from the country on July 1.


“Here I would reiterate how essential it is that those in power choose finally and decisively to work for true peace and not for their own interests. Let there be an end to the few profiting from the sufferings of many. No more letting half-truths continue to frustrate people’s aspirations,” the pope said.


“Stop using Lebanon and the Middle East for outside interests and profits. The Lebanese people must be given the opportunity to be the architects of a better future in their land, without undue interference.”