Skip to comments.Lebanese Cardinal Leads (DC) Peace Service (Meets with SOS Condoleeza Rice)
Posted on 07/19/2006 6:06:41 AM PDT by NYer
Wednesday, July 19, 2006; B03
In English and in Arabic, shedding tears and sweat, Washington's Lebanese Catholics prayed yesterday for peace in their homeland, filling a new white church at noon on a sweltering workday.
Catholics are the largest Christian community in Lebanon, and the special Mass at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church was celebrated by Cardinal Nasrallah P. Sfeir, considered one of the most influential leaders of the country's Christians. Nasrallah was in the United States this month when the violence began and spent his last day -- yesterday -- speaking about the holy nature of peacemaking.
"Are there no more peacemakers? I ask: Is war inevitable? The course of history seems to confirm this fearful thought," he told more than 200 people at Our Lady, which was dedicated in May. "As Christians, we believe that war is not inevitable; people choose war, and people can choose peace. . . . Blessed are the peacemakers."
Among those at the quickly planned Mass were Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl and his predecessor, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, who retired this summer.
Hours before a scheduled meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Sfeir said in a telephone interview that he planned to tell her that the United States should press Israel to stop attacking his country. The United States has the ability to "restrain Israel," he said.
The cardinal has over the past several years advocated for Hezbollah to disarm and be integrated into Lebanese society. He said he was surprised that the conflict had developed the way it has -- so rapidly and with so much violence.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Remarks With Maronite Patriarch of Lebanon Nasrallah Sfeir Before Their Meeting
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
July 18, 2006
SECRETARY RICE: I am so very pleased that you could join me and I am, of course, very concerned about the events in Lebanon. I'm very concerned about the people of Lebanon, about Lebanon's freedom and democracy and a Lebanon where all Lebanese can prosper. And we are, of course, working very hard to make certain that Lebanon retains its sovereignty. We're working very hard to try and minimize the impact of the current conflict on the Lebanese people. And I want you to know that we're not only working hard, but we're also praying for the people of Lebanon.
MARONITE PATRIARCH SFEIR: Thank you. Thank you for the action you have taken in favor of this small country but there are many difficulties. The world says the Resolution 1559 will it be applied.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
MARONITE PATRIARCH SFEIR: But it is not up to the Lebanese Government to apply it. It is so weak to do so. There is another way to apply this, but I do not know how. But our interest is that all the citizens will be equal (inaudible). When some are having arms and the others have not there is no equality and I've said this a long time that -- how to apply this I don't know. (Inaudible) perhaps, some other -- some pressure to (inaudible).
SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Well, the international community has to help you.
MARONITE PATRIARCH SFEIR: Exactly. Exactly.
SECRETARY RICE: I mean that's it, the international community must insist on the enforcement of 1559 which we, the international community, passed. And so we will work.
MARONITE PATRIARCH SFEIR: There's a better way.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes, we will work.
MARONITE PATRIARCH SFEIR: Thank you.
Released on July 18, 2006
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A true man of peace. Ths "religion of peace" should take note.
He is a deeply spiritual man who is an excellent shepherd. The following Press Release was issued last Thursday.
"I began my pastoral visit to the United States on June 29, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. I have visited St. Louis, Chicago, and Detroit. After these two days in Lawrence, I will proceed to New York. I have met thousands of Maronites and friends from throughout the United States. The Lebanese and Maronite people are proud contributors to American society.
"I have come at the invitation of Maronite Bishops Robert Shaheen and Gregory Mansour who have undertaken the planning and details of this visit, which is made in honor of the forty years since the appointment of a Maronite Bishop in the United States. Much progress has been made in 40 years. We look forward to a brighter future.
"I am grateful for the solidarity that exists between the Catholics of Lebanon and the Middle East, and those of this country. I am also grateful for the solidarity expressed by the international community, and especially President Bush and the United States, towards Lebanon.
"I have come to strengthen the bridges between East and West, Christians and Muslims. I have come with the demand that Lebanon steer its own course, without the tutelage of any other nation. I have come to say that the Lebanese are determined to live far from terrorism, tyranny, corruption and despair.
"The Lebanese are proud people and have inherited the oldest democracy in the Middle East. They are well-educated, accustomed to hard work, and eager to work in harmony with the community of nations.
"In Lebanon we have difficult issues to resolve. We have been working at these issues in the National Dialogue, which still awaits a positive outcome. Syrian troops have left Lebanon, but their influence is still there. We therefore ask again that our two nations develop proper relations befitting of states, which means among other things, delineated boundaries, embassies, respect for international law, and friendly relations.
"The tragic events of recent days give us pause to pray and ask the Lord's help. I am very concerned and anxious. As we have said in the past and reassert again today, we are against all aggression wherever it comes from. We condemn Israel's recent retaliations against Lebanon's people and infrastructure. We also hope that Hezbollah will finally lay down its arms and join the other citizens of Lebanon in reaching political solutions to all of the Lebanese problems.
"We look forward to a united, sovereign, free, and truly independent Lebanon, where the Lebanese government exerts its sole authority over all of Lebanon's territory.
"We have known war first hand on our own soil. We have had enough. We need the help and support of all our friends in the world, especially the United States. We are determined to work together, through dialogue, for peace and justice in the region.
"I ask you to pray for Lebanon and help us to show in the news the true Lebanon, the Lebanon that longs to reclaim its former glory. As Pope John Paul II says, 'Lebanon is more than a country, it is a message of fraternity for the entire world.'
"Thank you for coming today."
Thank you so much for this posting. I had trouble reading it as I had tears in my eyes. Regards,
May he and his flock escape the crossfire.
May God bless the Patriarch and his flock.