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Intervention of Mons. Paul Youssef MATAR, Archbishop of Beirut of the Maronites (LEBANON)


In reference, in the Instrumentum laboris, to the challenges that face Eastern Christians and their relationships with Muslims, and to open up the present situation to future perspectives, four responsibilities should be underlined, which must all concur to succeed in this historical task, for the Middle East and for the World.
The responsibility of the Eastern Christians themselves: Children of this land since time began, these Christians must feel that they are not forging a destiny just for themselves, rather a common destiny with their partners. Their insertion in the Arabic world, recommended by Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation for Lebanon, should not make them lose their rights or their liberties, but confirm them in common with the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens.

The responsibility of Muslims in the region: These majority partners must give the proper place to their fellow Christian citizens. This would not only be a presence in society, but in the elaboration of a project of this society as well as its governing. Thus, the Christians who have contributed to the development of the Arabic culture and societies in the past will also contribute in the future, and will live together in participation, equality and full liberty with their partners.
The responsibility of the Western powers: These have committed injustices and historical errors in the encounter with the Middle East. They too should make amends by taking these injustices away, injustices that whole peoples suffer, especially the Palestinian people. The Christians of this region who were unjustly identified with them would benefit from these reparations thanks to their cohesion with their brothers, without shackles.
The responsibility of Western and World Christians: showing solidarity with their brothers and sisters of the Middle East, the Western and World Christians should know their Middle Eastern brothers and sisters better, show more solidarity to their causes. They should also exercise pressure on public opinion at home as well as on their governments to re-establish justice in their relationships with the Middle East and Islam, and help liberate the world of fundamentalism and lead them to moderation.

[00049-02.03] [INO27] [Original text: French]



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