Al-Rahi Heads to the Vatican: Cabinet Formation Should be Speeded Up


Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Friday called for speeding up the cabinet formation process ahead of his visit to the Vatican to participate in the beatification ceremony of Pope John Paul II.

“We should speed up the government formation process to regain Lebanon’s role as a message,” al-Rahi told reporters at Beirut airport before heading to Rome.

The Patriarch’s remarks came from a former statement by John Paul II in the 1980s who said “Lebanon is more than a country. It is a message of freedom and an example of pluralism for East and West.”

Al-Rahi said that the Lebanese were destroying state-building efforts because of the absence of the government which should be capable of handling the citizens’ affairs.

“We are wasting time,” he said.

The patriarch is set to hold talks with a number of Italian officials during his visit including President Giorgio Napolitano and Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.

Pope John Paul II’s beatification will be held on Sunday at St. Peter's Basilica.