American and European Bishops unite in support for the Church and people of Lebanon. Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice & Peace has joined with bishops from several other countries to jointly release a statement on Lebanon.
The bishops’ full statement and list of signatories follows:
Lebanon, the Message of Peace and Fraternity, is in Great Danger
American and European Bishops United in Support for the Church and People of Lebanon
It has been a year since His Beatitude Cardinal Béchara Pierre Raï, the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch, called for an international conference to protect Lebanon.
Lebanon has long been an example of coexistence between Christians and Muslims. It is “a universal message of peace and fraternity arising from the Middle East” (Pope Francis). For many of its people, this current time is marked by pain, poverty, and despair. However, there remains hope for change, to protect the unique character of their country.
We have heard the warning of Pope Francis that “Lebanon is in great danger” and his appeal for us to turn our minds to the “unprecedented crisis” it faces. We support the Holy See’s continued efforts to seek peace in Lebanon. We pray that Archbishop Paul Gallagher’s calls for dialogue during his visit in February will bear lasting fruit.
The global community must stand alongside all those working to keep alive the principles that shaped Lebanon’s constitution and helped to end conflict through achievements such as the 1989 Taif Agreement and the 2008 Doha Agreement.
We, therefore, urge our own governments to:
- support Cardinal Raï’s appeal for action through the United Nations to find a solution to the crisis, upholding Lebanon’s independence, sovereignty, and neutrality
- safeguard the right of Lebanese citizens to choose their own representatives in free and fair elections, including through the offer of independent electoral observers
- assist the establishment of good governance, honesty, transparency, and accountability in the service of Lebanon’s people.
Our nations also have a responsibility to provide relief for those affected by the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe, including both Lebanese citizens and the many refugees who have fled from neighboring countries. We are grateful for the humanitarian work of Catholic agencies and encourage our own communities to sustain their efforts.
Above all, we invite the faithful to join us in prayer for Lebanon. In the words of the Holy Father: “May the night of conflicts recede before a new dawn of hope. May hostilities cease, disagreements fade away, and Lebanon once more radiates the light of peace.”
Bishop Udo Bentz, Auxiliary Bishop of Mainz (Germany), Chair of the Working Group on the Middle East, German Bishops’ Conference
Bishop Michel Dubost, Bishop Emeritus of Evry-Corbeil-Essonnes (France) and Apostolic Delegate of Foyers de Charité
Bishop Garry Gordon, Bishop of Victoria (Canada), Chair of Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Bishop Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton (England and Wales), Chair of the Department for International Affairs, Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Bishop David J. Malloy, Bishop of Rockford (USA), Chair of the Committee on International Justice & Peace, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Bishop Bertram Meier, Bishop of Augsburg (Germany), Chair of the Commission for International Church Affairs, German Bishops’ Conference
Bishop Rimantas Norvila, Bishop of Vilkaviškis (Lithuania) and President of the COMECE Commission on EU External Relations
Bishop Marc Stenger, Bishop Emeritus of Troyes (France) and Co-President of Pax Christi International