Maronite Bishop's May, 2000 Press Release

On Wednesday, 10 May 2000, Their Excellencies the Maronite Bishops held, at Bkerkeh, their monthly meeting which was presided over by His Beatitude Nasrallh-Butros Cardinal Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and the Whole East.They discussed the prevailing Church and national situation. At the end of the meeting they issued the following communiqué .

1 – The lot of the region of South Lebanon and its inhabitants, following the withdrawal of Israeli army, is the cause of worry . Statements made about this matter are many and contradictory. It is hoped that the Government will handle the question only with international sides in a high sense of responsibility, away from the logic of rejoicing at an evil befalling an enemy. For, such a logic will make Lebanon inherit more tragedies and wind up where its loyal citizens and friends do not want it to.

2 – Persisting, every now and then in arresting, jailing and fining some Lebanese youth, under the pretense that they are disturbing security , whereas they are claiming for liberties, will result in maintaining a state of caution and suspicion which will seperate the authorities from a large section of the citizens. Such a climate jeopardizes national interests, at a time when we mostly need to exhibit a homeland holding together, despite all the traps set up to divide it in order to prevent it from claiming its right to abolish tutorship, recover its sovereignty, independence and national dignity .

3 – The worsening economic crisis and its bad effects, on the whole Lebanese people, and the emigration of youth must be treated in a radical way so as to give back hope and attract investments into Lebanese projects diminishing , thus , unemployment. But this requires that administrative formalities be simplified, an end be put to blackmailing and legislative stability be established, so that capital owners be at ease to have recourse to court, had they needed to do so.

4 – Before prosecuting some of those who point out shortcomings in the Lebanese administration, especially in the courts of justice, which are supposed to remain above suspicion and away from any political interference, an inquiry should be made to know reality. In case these shortcomings prove to be non existent, then those who pretended so should be prosecuted for defamation.

5 – The Marian Month is the month during which the faithful devote themselves to honor Our Lady mother of God, especially at her shrines. It is, indeed, a praised tradition that must be encouraged . But , what is happening sometimes , on the occasion of these visits, does not show religious engagement, piety and commitment to the rules of ethics and virtue. It is necessary that the authorities prevent the happening of practices which are in contradiction with devotion and piety .