Matar presides over Mass for France: We believe it is capable of playing a crucial role in restoring peace in the region

NNA – Beirut Maronite Archbishop Boulos Matar said, on Monday, that “France is capable of playing a crucial role in restoring peace in the region.”

Presiding over Assumption Mass held at the Archdiocese Seat in Ain Saadeh marking Saint Mary’s Day and dedicated to France, Bishop Matar praised the Lebanese-French deeply-rooted historical and friendly relations.

He also paid tribute to the innocent victims who fell during the recent wave of terrorist attacks that hit France, praising its ability to overcome these painful incidents.

“We pay respect to France’s clear vision and foresight in its ability to refrain from mixing between violence and peace, and in dealing with these sad incidents in a civilized and wise manner,” Matar added.

“France has responded to the culture of death by clinging to the civilization of life, especially the life of coexistence without discrimination,” said Matar, adding that “this is what we in Lebanon have done for the last 40 years, namely by refusing to consider what we have been through as a religious war, since Christianity and Islam are two religions open to one other.”

Following the Mass service, French Charge d’Affaires Arnaud Pescheux thanked Bishop Matar for his kind and sincere words, and for the Assumption Mass that was dedicated to his country.

“This Assumption Mass for France is an old tradition to which we remain attached, in light of its symbolic reflection of the strong ties that link between the Lebanon of Maronites and France,” added Pescheux.

He expressed his country’s concern for Lebanon in wake of the Syrian crisis and its repercussions on the Lebanese scene.

“Lebanon has carried a heavy burden and incurred huge costs as a result of terrorism, and we are worried of this terrorist threat springing from a common enemy,” added Pescheux.

“The presence of Syrian refugees in Lebanon places an enormous pressure on Lebanese infrastructure,” Pescheux went on, adding that “France is also worried about the political obstacles that have deprived Lebanon of a new President for more than two years now.”

“The ongoing Presidential vacuum weakens the country’s ability to protect itself from the tensions caused by regional conflicts, and prevents Christians from playing their necessary role in political life, in addition to feeding institutional paralysis in both government and parliament, which hampers access to international aid,” Pescheux underscored.

He concluded by stressing his country’s “faithfulness to its traditions and friendships, especially in a volatile region where certain forces are trying to destabilize the Lebanese delicate balance,” stressing that “Lebanon can always count on France’s stable support.”