Cardinal seeks saint’s intercession to save Lebanon from ‘total collapse’

Cardinal seeks saint’s intercession to save Lebanon from ‘total collapse’ St. Charbel Makhlouf is depicted in a mosaic at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Photo: CNS

Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai has implored Lebanon’s patron saint to help save the country from “total collapse” amid one of the worst financial crises the world has seen in decades.

In a homily for the feast of St Charbel, the leader of Lebanon’s Maronite Catholics said that he sought the intercession of the 19th-century Lebanese saint for “the miracle of our salvation from this total collapse”.

The cardinal also decried Lebanese political leaders for their failure to fulfil the “most basic duties toward their people”.

“The political establishment gives proof after proof each day of its inability to perform its most basic duties toward their people and the country,” Rai said July 18.

“This group is incapable of solving simple daily problems such as waste, electricity, food, medicine, and fuels, incapable of combating corruption, facilitating the work of the judiciary … and incapable of settling issues such as resolutions and measures to address major reforms,” he added.

The cardinal’s comments came days after Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri resigned after failing to form a government over the last nine months.

“It is a time to assume responsibilities, not a time to retreat,” Cardinal Rai said. “The country is not facing an ordinary governmental crisis, but rather a comprehensive national crisis.”