Catholic religious leaders in Lebanon have appealed to the international community to stop wars in the Middle East and work to bring about a just peace.
In a statement following its Nov. 12-16 annual meeting, the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon urged Catholics “to endure the grace of God in the hope of rebuilding their homelands with their Muslim brothers in equal and responsible citizenship.”
The prelates expressed “anguish at the continuation of the wars in the Middle East, which continue to destabilize the peace, wreak havoc, destroy and displace citizens,” Catholic News Service reported.
The patriarchs and bishops condemned “violence in all its forms” and appealed to “the international community and concerned states” to stop wars in the region and “to bring about a comprehensive and just peace and to work seriously for the return of displaced persons, refugees, abductees and deportees to their countries, homes and properties.”
They highlighted principles proclaimed by Pope Francis regarding the Middle East: that peace is a condition for Christians to remain in their homelands; that there is no Middle East without Christians, who are a factor of equilibrium and stability in it; and that citizens have the duty to defend the rights of individuals and minorities, according to Catholic News Service.
Lebanon is currently home to more than one million Syrian refugees escaping war and violence, making it a country that hosts the largest number of refugees relative to its national population of four million people.
“For a variety of reasons, none of the durable solutions are currently in sight for the majority of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, whether that is return, integration or resettlement,” reports reliefweb.int.