Report: U.S. Seeks Explanations as Vatican Postpones al-Rahi’s Promotion to Cardinal
Washington has reportedly asked for explanations from Bkirki on Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi’s controversial statements on Hizbullah’s arms and Syria.
Ad-Diyar daily said Monday that al-Rahi’s stances would hinder meetings between him and top U.S. officials, including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
During his visit to Paris, al-Rahi linked the fate of Hizbullah’s weapons to the liberation of the remaining occupied Lebanese territories and expressed fear on the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, saying the group could threaten the existence of Christians in the region.
He also called for giving Syrian President Bashar Assad the chance of reform. However, the patriarch later said that his statements were taken out of context.
Ad-Diyar also said that the Vatican has tasked the papal ambassador in Beirut with seeking clarifications from al-Rahi.
The patriarch’s visit to the Vatican on Oct. 1 to promote him to the rank of Cardinal could be postponed over the latest controversial statements, Ad-Diyar added.
During his visit to Baalbek on Sunday, al-Rahi expressed fear that the bloody events in some Arab countries would lead to civil wars and bring more extremist regimes to power.