Pontiff Urges Lebanese to Focus on Common Good

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 11, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says Lebanon and its institutions are at risk, as the country prepared for presidential elections.

In a message delivered after praying the midday Angelus today, the Pope asked Lebanese politicians to leave personal interests aside and to focus together on the common good.

The Holy Father observed that the Lebanese Parliament will soon be called to elect a new head of state. Initially scheduled for Monday, the legislature postponed the election of a new president until Nov. 21. The term of Emile Lahoud, the current president, ends Nov. 24.

This is already the second postponement of presidential elections. According to Lebanon’s Constitution, the president must come from the Maronite Catholic minority.

Benedict XVI noted, "As numerous initiatives undertaken in recent days have shown, this is a crucial moment on which depends the very survival of Lebanon and its institutions."

The Holy Father made his own "the concerns recently expressed by the Maronite patriarch, His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, and his desire that the new president recognize all Lebanese."

The Pope invoked Mary to "inspire in all the parties involved the necessary detachment from personal interests and a true passion for the common good."

ZE07111108 - 2007-11-11


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