BEIRUT (CNS) — Lebanon’s Maronite Catholic bishops warned against military intervention in neighboring Syria.
“The bishops denounce the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but they call for being aware of the risks of a potential military strike,” the bishops said in a statement following their monthly meeting Sept. 4.
The bishops said foreign intervention poses “grave, grave dangers and repercussions of severe consequences for the countries of the region” and stressed that the war in Syria should be resolved “diplomatically and peacefully, away from the use of arms.”
U.S. President Barack Obama is seeking approval from Congress to go forward with military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The office of the U.N. Higher Commissioner for Refugees said Sept. 1 that the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon had reached more than 716,000.
The bishops praised Pope Francis’ call for prayer, fasting and repentance for peace in Syria and his direct appeal to the international community for dialogue and negotiation for peace.
They urged parishes and monasteries to organize participation with Pope Francis in his prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square Sept. 7 and urged local Catholics to spend that evening in prayer and repentance.
The council’s meeting at the Maronite patriarchal summer seat in Diman, in northern Lebanon, was attended in part by caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who later held a closed-door meeting with Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite patriarch.
The bishops reiterated their plea for a new Cabinet to be formed to address challenges facing the country. Lebanon has been without a government since March.
“Given the dangers threatening Lebanon from both inside and outside the country, the bishops call on state officials … to overcome all barriers dividing them and make a Cabinet capable of confronting dangers and of protecting the Lebanese people and constitutional institutions from total collapse,” the bishops said.
“It is about time to realize that if the nation falls apart, we will all fall with it,” they said.
The bishops denounced August bombings that rocked the southern suburbs of Beirut and Tripoli, killing more than 70, wounding hundreds and putting Lebanon “on the brink of sectarian strife and civil war.”
They praised the patriarch for visiting the targeted areas and offering condolences to the victims of the attacks.
The bishops also expressed appreciation to Lebanese expatriates who visited the country in the summer despite “the wars and turmoil in the region in addition to paralysis in Lebanon, which have negatively affected tourism.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103