On Wednesday , December 2 ,1998 , the Maronite Bishops convened their monthly meeting in Bkerke , with His Beatitude the Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Peter Sfeir presiding . They discussed some church and liturgical matters and dwelled upon the prevailing situation in Lebanon . At the end of the meeting , they issued the follwing communiqué :

1 – The main lines of the inaugural speech of His Excellency , President General Emile Lahoud indicate that the President and his aides aim to establish the State of law and institutions, with an honest and independent judiciary body , a sound administration , a transparency in financial and economic affairs and a social justice , and to grant the claims of the Lebanese People . All that has been welcomed in all circles and has revived hope that what many people complained about will change ; that is what the Fathers also warmly welcomed .

2 – The Fathers hope that the range of freedoms of all sorts will be extended within the  scope of laws so that the freedom of expression will exist on all levels , and that every group of the Lebanese People will be able to express its opinion through a media means which will not be exclusive to one person , one group or one party , but be accessible to all .

3 – The Fathers also hoped that national reconciliation will be achieved from the bottom up , so that the page of the past can be turned over for good, then a new page opened on which the Lebanese will be able to write what their qualification will allow them to write in the annals of achievements and contributions conducive to have Lebanon return to its normal situation .

4 - The Bishops welcomed the establishment of sound relations between Syria and Lebanon , such as those existing between two neighboring and friendly countries, within the framework of the independence, sovereignty and freedom of decision over its land and people each one should enjoy , while coordinating the issues of common interest , especially on the level of foreign policy for the benefit of both Peoples and Countries .

5 – As the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord in the flesh draws near , the Fathers call upon their sons and daughters to take this opportunity to go back to God with a sincere repentence , and to the neighbor with forgiveness and pardon , and to fraternal solidarity which inspires those who are well off what to do for the indigent so that there will be no spending on satisfying self interests and instincts but on helping those in need . They ask make this a blessed feast for all .