Pope Francis To Visit Crisis-Hit Lebanon In June

Pope Francis’ deliberate go to can be the third by an incumbent pope to the nation for the reason that civil struggle.


Pope Francis is about to go to Lebanon in June, the nation’s presidency stated on Tuesday, in a long-awaited journey that comes amid spiraling monetary and political crises.

Lebanon, residence to one of many largest Christian communities within the Middle East, has been gripped by an unprecedented financial downturn since 2019, with greater than 80 p.c of the inhabitants now residing in poverty.

The pontiff, who has acquired Lebanon’s president and prime minister within the Vatican in latest months, had beforehand promised to go to the nation and repeatedly expressed concern over its worsening crises.

“Apostolic Envoy Joseph Spiteri informed President Michel Aoun that Pope Francis will visit Lebanon next June,” a presidency assertion stated.

“The Lebanese people have been waiting for this visit for some time to express gratitude to his holiness for his support,” the assertion stated, including the precise date and agenda for the go to can be set later.

Lebanese took to social media to have a good time the announcement.

“A welcome to the pope of peace in the holy land,” stated one person.

The Vatican has not confirmed Pope Francis’ journey, however normally confirms such visits nearer the time.

Lebanon, a multi-confessional nation of some six million folks, is residence to a Muslim majority however Christians account for round a 3rd of the inhabitants.

Pope Francis’ deliberate go to, coming after Lebanese parliamentary elections scheduled for May 15, can be the third by an incumbent pope to the nation for the reason that finish of its 1975-1990 civil struggle.

The final journey in 2012 noticed Pope Benedict XVI go to to attraction for peace, months after the beginning of the civil struggle in neighboring Syria.

Pope John Paul II visited in 1997, drawing one of many largest crowds Lebanon had ever seen.

“Lebanon is more than a country — it is a message,” he stated on the time.

– ‘New hope’ –

One social media person drew a parallel between the 1997 go to and the one anticipated in two months.

“Just as Pope John Paul II was a hope for Lebanon, Pope Francis too will definitely be a new hope,” he wrote on Twitter.

“During elections, out with the old and in with the new,” he stated, referring to conventional occasion leaders who’ve been on the helm of Lebanese politics for the reason that finish of the civil struggle.

Pope Francis met final month with Lebanon’s president, who’s a Christian as dictated by the nation’s structure which additionally divides seats in authorities and parliament alongside sectarian quotas.

In November, he acquired Lebanon’s Muslim Prime Minister Najib Mikati within the Vatican.

“May God take Lebanon by the hand and tell it: ‘Get up!'” the Vatican quoted Francis as saying throughout the assembly.

During a go to to Cyprus in December, Pope Francis met with the pinnacle of Lebanon’s Maronite Church and expressed concern over the nation’s crises.

He additionally acquired the heads of Lebanon’s prime church buildings in July.

In August, he referred to as on the worldwide group to supply help to Lebanon, one 12 months after an explosion in Beirut port killed greater than 200 folks and destroyed swathes of the capital.

Since 2019, the Lebanese foreign money, the pound, has misplaced greater than 90 p.c of its worth in opposition to the US greenback on the black market.

The bankrupt Lebanese state has struggled to afford primary imports of gas, meals and drugs.

With no exit in sight from the nation’s disaster, Lebanon’s inhabitants has fled the nation en masse in a harmful mind drain.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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