Do not abandon Lebanon – Pope

A demonstrator sits on a pole while carrying a national flag Beirut, Lebanon REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

On Wednesday Pope Francis delivered a heart felt appeal for solidarity with the people of Lebanon. “Do not abandon Lebanon” he appealed to the rest of the world. He also announced a day of prayer and fasting on Friday for Lebanon. Lebanon which has been suffering one of its worst economic and political crisis in its history was on August 4 given another fatal blow after the massive explosion which struck Beirut.

The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, will visit Lebanon as a sign of the Pope’s solidarity and closeness with the people of Lebanon.

“One month after the tragedy that struck the city of Beirut, my thoughts are still with dear Lebanon and its particularly troubled population,” the Pope said during his weekly General Audience in the Vatican which was for the first time since the pandemic open to a limited number of people.

Pope Francis embraced a Lebanese student priest who was carrying his country’s flag and clutched the edge the flag in a symbolic gesture of closeness with the Middle East nation.

“Lebanon was a country of hope”

Pope Francis after noting that Lebanon has been for decades a country of hope and a “place of tolerance, respect and coexistence, unique in the region” emphasised the need not to abandon it in this time of solitude.

“Find energy to start again”

Pope Francis appealed to the people of Lebanon to find the energy to start again. Politicians and religious leaders were exhorted “to commit themselves with sincerity and transparency in the work of reconstruction, setting aside partisan interests and looking to the common good and the future of the nation.”

He had a special word to the inhabitants of the capital city Beirut which was devastated by the explosion.

“Do not abandon your homes and your inheritance, do not let the dreams of those who have believed in the future of a beautiful and prosperous country fall away.”