ASIA/LEBANON - Analysis and comments by the Lebanese media on the imminent visit of Cardinal Parolin

Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - A pastoral visit to a country marked by a stagnant institutional and economic crisis and threatened by the growing risk of an expansion of the conflict that is tearing the Middle East, is how the Lebanese media describe the news of the upcoming visit of Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to the country.
As reported by Lebanese television channels and newspapers, in particular the daily newspaper An Nahar, the visit will begin on Sunday, June 23, and is expected to last until Thursday, June 27. The report indicates that the Cardinal Secretary of State is traveling to Lebanon to preside over a Eucharistic liturgy at the University of Saint Joseph on the occasion of the presentation of an agricultural project promoted by the Order of Malta, which aims to combine economic development and food security. At the same time, according to Lebanese media, Cardinal Parolin will also meet with leading figures of the Lebanese Church - first and foremost the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai - and representatives of political institutions such as the interim Prime Minister Najib Mikati and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nabih Berri.
The Lebanese media also contain comments recalling the interest with which the Holy See has always viewed the events and difficulties in Lebanon, with the aim of preserving pluralism and coexistence between the various confessional components as a characteristic feature of national identity. Various analyses underline the importance of the visit of the Cardinal Secretary of State, linking it to the critical moment of uncertainty that Lebanon is currently experiencing.

In recent days, US President Joe Biden has sent his emissary Amos Hochstein to Israel and Beirut to urgently calm the conflict between the army of the Jewish state and the militias of the Lebanese Shiite party Hezbollah, to avoid a large scale war. Hezbollah, for its part, recently published images that it claims were taken by its own drone flying over the major Israeli port city of Haifa.
Since the end of October 2022, Lebanon has been without a President. After the end of Michel Aoun's term, the bipartisan vetoes of the parties have always prevented an agreement on a candidate for the post that in the Lebanese institutional system is reserved for a Maronite Christian. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 19/6/2024)