May 21, 2008
Ambassador and Mrs. Antoine Chedid;
Your Eminence Cardinal McCarrick;
Archbishops Sambi and Aboujaoude;
Chorbishops Ashkar, Beggiani and Thomas
Fr Elie Madi,
Ecumenical and Religious Leaders
Respected Ambassadors and Consul Generals;
United States Congressmen Governmental Officials, and Civic Dignitaries;
Fellow Lebanese and Friends of Lebanon;
It is a joy to share a few moments with you in the hospitality of the Ambassador, his wife and his respected staff.
As you know, Lebanon is once again experiencing difficult days. Even the talks being held in Qatar, which filled us with some glimmer of hope, seem burdened with tensions and strong disagreements. There seems to be a desire on each side to paint the opponent in the darkest possible shades. It takes courage to see the point of view of the other. A different opinion is not an offense against us, but an opportunity to understand and appreciate the other.
The duty incumbent upon all Lebanese and friends of Lebanon is to restore order, parliamentary procedure, civility in dialogue, respect for the rights and duties of the state, and forge a permanent conviviality reflected not only in law but in actions as well.
The opportunity for a new Lebanon is before us. Let us not loose the chance by egotistical or illegal actions that weaken Lebanon. Rather, let us all, no matter what is our confession, party, or opinion, see Lebanon as a sacred trust worthy of our every respect and effort. Lebanon was created as a nation with the intention of being a mosaic of different confessions and communities. We must succeed in restoring the pluralistic character and special consensual democracy of this great but small land.
Jesus said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons and daughters of God.” We hope and pray that there will always be peacemakers among us, and that those who work for this peace will always be respected and loved as God’s special children.
Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir
Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
(Reprinted with permission.)