Vatican City, Nov 30, 2020 / 07:30 am America/Denver (CNA).
Pope Francis met with Lebanon’s Maronite patriarch at the Vatican this weekend and told the pope of the challenges facing Lebanon as it experiences political instability and a “bitter economic crisis.”
During the Nov. 28 meeting, Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, the leader of Lebanon’s Maronite Catholics, invited Pope Francis to visit Lebanon and briefed him on the local Church’s efforts to respond to growing humanitarian needs due to the economic and political crisis that preceded the devastating explosion in Beirut on Aug. 4.
A statement from the Maronite Patriarchate said that Cardinal Rai “presented the risks and challenges facing Lebanon in light of the regional developments and the internal political crisis, especially the formation of the government.”
Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s ex-prime minister who was forced to resign last year after mass protests against government corruption, is once again attempting to form a cabinet as prime minister after the man nominated in August resigned in September after failing to form a government.
The patriarch told the pope that the country’s instability has “caused a bitter economic crisis, which increased the poverty rate and caused the exodus of population.”