Loading
Pope condemns assassination of leading Catholic politician
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Speaking at the conclusion of his weekly General Audience this morning, Pope Benedict XVI strongly criticized the recent assassination of Lebanese Catholic politician Pierre Gemayel, and offered spiritual support for Gemayel’s family and the Lebanese people.

"I firmly condemn this brutal attack," the Pontiff said, "and give assurances of my prayers and my spiritual closeness to the family in mourning, and to the beloved Lebanese people.”

“In the face of the dark forces that seek to destroy the country,” the Pope continued, “I invite all Lebanese not to allow themselves to be overcome by hatred, but to reinforce national unity, justice and reconciliation, and to work together to build a future of peace. Finally, I invite leaders of the nations that have the fate of this region at heart to contribute to finding a global negotiated solution to the various situations of injustice that have existed for too many years."

Gemayel, who was serving as the Lebanese Industry Minister, was shot dead on Tuesday near Beirut.  The Industry Minister was part of a prominent Maronite Catholic political family. Both his father, Amin Gemayel, and uncle, Bachir Gemayel, were elected to the Lebanese Presidency, though his uncle was assassinated prior to taking office in 1982.

Gemayel, 34, was known as an outspoken critic of growing Syrian influences on his country. The assassination has rallied the country’s anti-Syrian coalition to demonstrate against the pro-Damascus opposition, led by Hezbollah. Thousands are expected at his funeral tomorrow, which will be held at St. George Cathedral in the Lebanese capital.  The funeral Mass will be celebrated by Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir.

The assassination threatens to shake country into further turmoil.   The once peaceful country, where Christians and Muslims seemed to have worked out a system of successful coexistence, continues to fight off the growing influence of extreme Muslim factions, promoted by Syria.

Agence France-Presse reported that Lebanon called for a three-day period of national mourning. Independence Day celebrations Nov. 23 were also called off.

According to a Reuters report, at least three gunmen rammed their car into Gemayel's vehicle, then leapt out and riddled it with bullets. They fired at Gemayel with silencer-equipped automatic weapons at point-blank range in the Christian Sin el-Fil neighborhood, witnesses told reporters. Gemayel was rushed to a hospital, where he later died of his wounds.

“This [assassination] is turning modern Lebanese politics into a graveyard,” Chibli Mallat, a visiting professor at Princeton University and a Lebanese lawyer and activist, told the New York Times. “It’s a tragic family history.”

Gemayel was elected to parliament in 2000 and again in 2005. He was a member of the Christian Phalange (or Kataeb) Party, founded by his grandfather.

Gemayel is the third prominent Lebanese anti-Syrian figure to be assassinated since Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri's killing in February 2005.

Saad al-Hariri, the son of the assassinated former prime minister, blamed Syria for the killing, though Damascus has denied it.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
24

Liturgical Calendar

October 24, 2014

Friday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 12:54-59

Gospel
Date
10/24/14
10/23/14
10/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Eph 4: 1-6
Gospel:: Lk 12: 54-59

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/24/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 12:54-59

Homily
Date
10/24/14
10/23/14
10/22/14