Rahi heads Christmas mass: 2 million refugees threaten domestic stability

Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Beshara Rahi, held Christmas mass on Sunday at Bkirky and said during his sermon that the country needed to emerge out of its darkness into the light, noting that the presence of two million displaced people and refugees posed a grave danger to domestic security.

The mass was attended by President Michel Aoun, the First Lady, Minister Ghattas Khoury representing PM Saad Hariri, Apostolic Nuncio Gabriele Caccia, and a host of political, religious and public figures.

Rahi addressed Aoun, highlighting the added joy of the holiday in the presence of a president and a Cabinet.

“The majority of political and parliamentary blocs agreed over your name and no one else’s because they realized you were the best and most appropriate person to reinforce a State of law and institutions,” Rahi said to the President.

“This is what the Lebanese people aspire for, as they fully realize that Lebanon cannot grow unless with the unity of all powers…We hope that your term can turn around religious and sectarian conflicts and the mutual fear between East and West.”

Rahi felicitated all Lebanese, wherever they may be, on Christmas.

“The country is in need of comprehensive national reconciliation; the economy needs repair and development of all productive sectors.”

The Cardinal urged for a solution to all forms of corruption including social and environmental ones, tax evasion, random and sectarian employment, and uncontrolled expenditures.

“Social security is in peril due to the presence of two million displaced people and refugees. Despite our full humanitarian solidarity with them and their cause, they do threaten domestic stability and snatch the livelihoods of other Lebanese, and subject themselves to political, sectarian and terrorist exploitation. They are a heavy burden that is crushing the State and the people.”

Urgent, serious and quick work was required with the aid of the international community to send the displaced back to their homes, according to Rahi.

“All aid must then be sent to [their homeland] so that they can rebuild their homes and regain their rights and dignity as citizens.”