Holy Father Hoping for Solution in Lebanon

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 14, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says he is praying that Lebanese leaders have the strength and courage to seek the common good for their nation, above personal interests.
by Zenit Staff Writer | Source: Zenit
The Pope affirmed this in a message sent on his behalf by his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, president of the assembly of the patriarchs and Catholic bishops of Lebanon and patriarch of Antioch. The papal message was sent to offer condolences at the death of a 54-year-old Maronite general who was killed Wednesday in a car bomb explosion.

General François el-Hajj and his chauffer died when a vehicle loaded with bombs exploded in the path of the general's car. Hajj was set to succeed General Michel Sleiman, the leader of Lebanon's army, who is a candidate for the presidency. Lebanon has not had a president since Emile Lahoud stepped down on Nov. 23 and the country has not been able to agree on a successor.

In the message to Cardinal Sfeir, the Pope expressed his "deepest condolences and affectionate solicitude and his deep communion in the test which once more strikes Lebanon in these difficult and delicate times for the future of the country.The Holy Father entrusts the deceased to divine mercy and implores the Almighty to offer his consolation to their families, the wounded and everyone touched by this act of unjustified violence."

Likewise, the message added, the Pope"asks the Lord to give those responsible for public life and the Lebanese people the interior strength and courage to find, beyond particular interests, the path of unity and reconciliation so the country can progress in peace and stability and that it may be for everyone a 'message' fraternity and coexistence."

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