Maronite Bishop's Release for the Month of August
August 5/2000

On Wednesday, August 2/ 2000, Their Excellencies the Maronite Bishops held at the Diman Patriarchal summer seat their monthly meeting. It was presided by His Beatitude Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Cardinal Sfeir. They studied church matters and dwelled upon present questions. At the end of the meeting , they issued the following communiqué:

1 – Participating in the parliamentary election is a national duty, when the process leads to the election of competent MP's Capablel and willing to defend the country, safeguard its values and exert positive influence on the over whole situation. But if the election is not going to lead to all of this, citizens will be react indifferently knowing that it hides the real problem, which is the absence of liberty. Specially in connection with the information about how electoral lists are formed, only after obtaining the necessary approval of the authorities in control, thus bringing together forces with contradictory ideologies and aims. The citizens ask if the next parliament will enjoy real political life, that would change conditions and raise the country out of the frightening economic stagnation, which is driving the elite of the Lebanese youth to emigrate.

2 – The question of the South remains a cause of worry as long as those who left, have not returned , in spite of their eagerness to do so. Meanwhile the rights of some who returned are still violated, security is not assured in a continuous way and problems, which have been pending for half a century, are not yet solved, as it seems. This means that Southerners will stay as they are, suffering from the same troubles, lack of stability and bitter frustration.

3 – The efforts, exerted by the Lebanese State to outline the Southern borders according to the maps set in 1923, are praiseworthy. We wished, these efforts were accompanied by a resolution stipulating the control of the land and the extending of total sovereignty over it, as stipulated in the 426 resolution, without signing a complete peace with Israel. But this cannot take place except after that a just and total peace is established in the region.

4 – Congratulating the Army on the occasion of its Day is a must. Those in charge were keen not to celebrate this feast with the usual manifestations, given the actual situation and so that candidates to the elections do not take advantage of the feast to pretend that they belong to the Army, while the Army is very far away from them. Besides, it is a decision in keeping with the general situation which requires frugality in festival manifestation , for half the Lebanese People are below the poverty line.

5 – The feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in soul and body to Heaven is an occasion to raise our eyes and hearts to Heaven, specially this year of the Great Jubilee which will be celebrated by a number of our Lebanese youth, with the youth from the world , in Rome, this month. Let’s ask God, with the intercession of this tender Mother, to lit the minds and strengthen the wills to work to obtain His contentment and arouse the hope of a better tomorrow in the souls, in spite of all the afflictions and hardships. He is the All-Hearing and Grantor.