Another historical moment of this pontificate: during today’s morning, Pope francesco he recited the Our Father in Arabic in front of the altar of confession at St. Peter’s Basilica. A solemn occasion to show closeness to the Lebanese people, who are facing a perhaps unique historical moment from the foundation of the state overlooking the Mediterranean Sea to today.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio he wanted to organize a real ad hoc day. The aim is twofold: to pray, yes, but also to reflect on what is happening in Lebanon, with a firm eye on a solution that can be shared by several actors. During these hours, numerous representatives of the Lebanese churches and not only have arrived in the Vatican: an ecumenical wind blows on the initiative, as has been the practice since the election on the throne of Peter of the former archbishop of Buenos Aires. To underline, for example, is also the presence of the Eastern patriarchs. Not that before the advent of Bergoglio ecumenism was not central, but interreligious dialogue has assumed a greater significance, if possible, precisely since the cardinals opted for the first Jesuit pontiff in the history of the Catholic Church. And symbolic gestures, like practical ones, help.
The fact that the Pope chose Arabic to recite the Our father it is not surprising: today’s bishop of Rome has made the dialectic between different cultures, identities and religions a constant in his action and that of the ecclesiastical institutions he guides. The initiative will end with an ecumenical prayer. Another moment characterized by a profound meaning which – as reported byAdnkronos – should be scheduled for 6pm today.
The drama of poverty for Lebanese Christians
The situation of the Lebanese Christians it is dramatic. As we have told through this interview with Bishop Matthias Charles Mrad, the word that hangs in that part of the world has “disappeared”. The other term, the one that is perhaps able to better describe the scenario for which Pope Francis has chosen to turn the spotlight on Lebanon, is chaos. The third expression that can describe the underlying picture is political-social instability. The pandemic has made its contribution. The Lebanese nation, to date, lacks an executive. And this is happening while all the economic fundamentals show that they cannot withstand the climate that has started, with poverty that is spreading like wildfire, making tragic a context already enveloped by numerous difficulties. And Lebanon is the nation in which the largest number of Arab-Christians on the globe reside.
The former archbishop of Buenos Aires, through the public interventions this week, insisted a lot on the concept of “common good”: it also applies to the Lebanon, where the international authorities are in some way recalled to their responsibilities through today. An element capable of making the context understood: according to what Unicef reported a little while ago, as the agency tells us Nova, more than 70% of the Lebanese population is unable to guarantee food for their offspring. A fact that well explains the relevance of a crisis that also involves many Christians residing in the Lebanese Republic.
From the explosion of the port of Beirut onwards, around which people who professed the Christian religion lived and dwell, everything has been subjected to a sort of domino effect. Between street protests, geopolitical difficulties and economic differences between population groups, a reversal of trend seems to be at the basis of Vatican hopes. The diplomacy of the Holy See is also working to understand whether a declaration of neutrality can actually assist the peace process and stabilization of the political framework. According to what has been leaked in these minutes, the secretariat of state is reflecting on the right move to make. In any case, the objective to be achieved for the Holy See can only be there pace, as Pope Francis himself reiterated, with the need for the day of prayer and reflection that takes place today.
After all, Lebanon can be considered one of those “economic-existential peripheries” on which the bishop of Rome has invested a large part of his message at the top of the Catholic Church. A world – the contemporary one – where for Francis the economic resources should be distributed according to new criteria, all tending towards social justice.