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Papal Envoy's Final Statement in Lebanon

"Only Submission to God Will Enable Us to Break the Logic of Evil"

BEIRUT, Lebanon, AUG. 18, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the statement issued Wednesday by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray at the end of his visit to Lebanon as Benedict XVI's special peace envoy.

On Monday, the cardinal met with the president of Lebanon, the president of the Council of Ministers, the vice president of the Shiite Higher Council, the mufti of the republic, and the patriarch of the Maronite Christians, and also visited the main headquarters of Caritas-Lebanon.

On Tuesday morning, on the solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Cardinal Etchegaray presided over a Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa, with the participation of Cardinal Pierre Nasrallah Sfeir, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites.

In the afternoon, he visited a refugee center in Haret Sakher, and met with Aram I, Catholicos of the Armenians.

* * *

I came to Lebanon to celebrate the feast of the Assumption of Mary, praying in the name of Pope Benedict XVI for peace in Lebanon and the Middle East.

My visit coincides with the first hours of the cease-fire, something that has taken much time and energy and which we hope will be frank and massive. The cease-fire must allow for the deployment of all the forces of peace. We must thank those who, at different national and international levels, devised a way to open with tenacity a path, applicable in the measure in which all, hand in hand, commit themselves to it: No one can remain to one side.

This path, long and abrupt, is also and above all a spiritual path. No effort will last if it is not supported by the peace of spirits and hearts. We have prayed for this to Our Lady of Harissa and the Lebanese people have understood it well, having come in such large numbers despite the difficulties.

Only submission to God will enable us to break the logic of evil in which man is caught, marked by blind and suicidal violence. From my contacts with religious and political authorities, I can attest that Christians and Muslims are prepared to do everything possible to rebuild together their wounded country. Peace is not simply the asphyxiation of those who have fought. It is the pure encouragement of a family which truly believes that all its members are brothers, as they are loved by God in the same way.

I think very much of the displaced in the south of Lebanon, who try -- often with tears in their eyes -- to find their homes and land again. I ask all governmental and nongovernmental institutions not to cease but to intensify the aid that will be necessary for a long time.

I can assure that the Pope continues to pay much attention to the sufferings and needs, both spiritual and material, of all the Lebanese.

Now that the arms are silenced, Lebanon will be able to make it better felt that its heart beats always for the unity of the homeland and for peace among peoples.


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Lebanon, Vatican, Peace, War, Muslim, Islam

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