Al-Rahi Holds 'Important' Talks on Lebanon with Pope Francis
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi has held an “important and noteworthy meeting in form and content” with Pope Francis in the Vatican, An-Nahar newspaper reported on Sunday.
Al-Rahi traveled to the Vatican specifically to meet with the pontiff, which gives the one-hour meeting that was held Saturday “extraordinary indications,” the daily said.
“Patriarch al-Rahi expressed to the pope the concerns of the Lebanese and the fear they have over the possibility of the loss of the Lebanese religious coexistence model,” An-Nahar added.
Al-Rahi warned that Lebanon and its people, especially Christians, are facing an “existential danger,” the daily said.
“The level of fear of hunger and the ambition to emigrate are surging in the minds and hearts of the Lebanese, who now fear for the future of their children,” the patriarch reportedly told the pope, pointing out that “a quick rescue operation is necessary to pull Lebanon out of its crisis before it’s too late.”
Al-Rahi also urged the pontiff to “play a role in this rescue process in order to preserve Lebanon’s unity as a model for coexistence through the Vatican’s international relations.”
“Lebanon aspires to be a unified state that is strong through its people, army and institutions, and this can happen through positive neutrality whose plan has become ready and feasible should there be domestic consensus over it,” the patriarch told the pope.
He also invited the pontiff to visit Lebanon.
An-Nahar said al-Rahi is expected to return to Lebanon on Sunday.