Pope Lebanon: Vicar General Maronite Patriarchate

2012-04-09 Vatican Radio

We bring you an interview with the Vicar General of the Maronite Patriarchate, Archbisop Paul Sayah in which he shares with us some thoughts on learning of the news that Benedict XVI will visit Lebanon from the 14th to the 16th September 2012 :

" His visit to Lebanon is going to be first of all an opportunity for the Holy Father to incite the Lebanese once again to play the role they are expected to play in this part of the world.

You know Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian presence has really a significant impact if you like on the country itself.

And I think the Holy Father will expect Lebanon to lead in the implementation of the Post-synodal Exhortation which carrries the main ideas of the Synod , namely communion and witness.

Of course the Holy Father will ask the Lebanese and the Middle Eastern Christians to try to relive their Christian identity in depth. Because unless they are really anchored in their religion and in Christianity they cannot live communion and they cannot witness.

And I think this Post-synodal Exhortation coming at this particular time of this Arab Spring is expected to offer something, a special message not only to Lebanon but also and specially to the countries of the region where the so called Arab Spring either has come to some kind of a conclusion although the conclusion is not yet clear . And specially to a country maybe like Syria where unfortunately violence is still doing a lot of damage, a lot of killing and this is a very tragic situation which I am sure the Holy Father will address in one way or another.

So we expect this visit to inject a new dynamism, not only in the Lebanese society and Christians in Lebanon but specially I would say in the region.

You know the Arab world now badly needs a word of encouragement, a word of hope. And also some directives to the local Christians as to how to approach this new reality which is not an easy thing to deal with because minorities are always in a difficult situation when it comes to a revolution in a country.

Because the Christian minorities as a whole have always been, not necessarily with the regime, but at least they have been as they should be good law abiding citizens, trying to live their lives quietly and doing what they can for themselves and for their country.

So they may find themselves, and they do find themselves , in a bit of a difficult situation as to where to turn and how to go about approaching this new reality that is really causing a very sad havoc, creating a very very difficult situation, socially , psychologically, specially you know securtiy wise. "