Catholic leaders from Europe, the United States, and Canada urged their governments to support the Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai’s appeal for an international conference to protect Lebanon.
In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, they said that such conference must guarantee that Lebanon keeps its “independence, sovereignty and neutrality.”
They stressed that Lebanese citizens have the right to have a free, fair, and democratic parliamentary election, to establish “good governance, honesty, transparency and accountability in the service of Lebanon’s people”.
In the statement, the Catholic leaders urged the global community to stand by anyone working to keep Lebanon and the Lebanese constitution alive and to end the ongoing conflict through new agreements.
They mentioned as examples “the Taif Agreement [that] sought to end Lebanon’s civil war, and the Doha Agreement, signed by rival Lebanese factions in Qatar, [that] marked the end of a year-and-a-half political crisis.”
The statement, which was signed by French, German, Lithuanian, British, Canadian, and American Bishops, also indicated that their nations have a responsibility to provide relief for the Lebanese people.
The bishops joined to pray for Lebanon: “In the words of the Holy Father: ‘May the night of conflicts recede before a new dawn of hope. May hostilities cease, disagreements fade away, and Lebanon once more radiate the light of peace.’”
Between 2019 and 2020, the Lebanese currency has lost more than 90% of its value, with food prices increasing more than 1000 percent, according to the UN World Food Program.
Poverty is now rampant in the country, with the vast majority of the population now reportedly living below poverty lines.
Lebanon’s economic meltdown has been described by the World Bank as a deliberate depression, and one of the worst worldwide since the 1850s.
The country certainly needs all the help that it can get.