.- Following the recitation of the Angelus today, Pope Benedict XVI appealed for a solution to the current political deadlock in Lebanon describing the approaching presidential elections as crucial to the nation's very survival.
Speaking in Italian to the thousands of pilgrims at St. Peterâs Square, Pope Benedict said âAs the numerous initiatives of these days showâ, the pending election for a new Head of State in Lebanon âis a crucial passage, upon which depends the very survival of Lebanon and its institutions.â
The Pope said he shared Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir's concerns about the divisions among the nationâs political leaders as well as his desire that âall Lebanese can see themselves represented in the new presidentâ. The Holy Father prayed that âall interested parties ... take the necessary distance from personal interests and have true passion for common goodâ.
The Popeâs appeal comes as the crucial parliamentary vote was postponed for a third time on Saturday evening. The new date for the vote is set for November 21, three days before current President Emile Lahoudâs mandate expires.
Vatican Radio explains that a September session failed to reach and agreement âbecause of an opposition boycott, and an October attempt was postponed as negotiators struggled to find a compromise candidate.â