These cases disrupt Lebanon’s basic constitutional features

The Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Mar Beshara Boutros Al-Rahi, presided over the Annunciation Day Mass in the Church of Our Lady in the Patriarchal edifice in Bkerke, assisted by the Bishops: Samir Mazloum, Boulos Matar, Hanna Alwan and Antoine Awkar, and the participation of the Apostolic Nuncio, Monsignor Paolo Borgia, and the Chargé d’Affaires, Monsignor Giovanni Bicchieri. The bishops of the sect, the superiors general, the superiors general, and a number of priests, nuns, and believers.

After the Holy Gospel, Patriarch Al-Rahi delivered a sermon, in which he said: How much every human society today, especially the Lebanese society, is in need of fellowship and love, when it is in a state of distance, conflicts, hostilities, lack of trust, and the influence of some, and their obstruction of the texts of the Constitution for their own purposes, as is the case for not electing a president of the republic who was taken hostage. For personal and factional accounts, without any consideration of the disintegration of the state and the poverty of the citizens, perhaps the intended recipients. These cases have begun to disrupt Lebanon’s basic constitutional features, which are:
A- Equality between citizens of different religions, because they belong to Lebanon, the state, by citizenship, not by religion. Which means that Lebanon is a state that separates religion and state, and “respects all religions in its beliefs, and guarantees its personal status laws” (Article 9 of the Constitution). Therefore, there is no state religion in Lebanon, and the source of the constitution is purely civil. But it is unfortunate that today we are witnessing practices that contradict all of these features, and give Lebanon a floating, hateful face.
B- Cultural and religious pluralism, which is incompatible with unilateralism. From this characteristic the public freedoms in the Lebanese system derive, starting with freedom of conscience and belief, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of publishing and writing, and freedom of gatherings and parties, as recognized by the constitution.
C- The Charter for Living Together, Christians and Muslims, known as the National Charter (1943), which was renewed by the Taif Agreement (1989) and introduced into the Constitution (1990). He considered that “there is no legitimacy for any authority that contradicts coexistence” (Introduction to the Constitution, I). This charter is based on two things: Lebanon’s neutrality, and balanced and equal participation in governance and administration, without this participation being based on sectarian, party, or parliamentary bloc quotas. This quotas deprive more than half of the Lebanese citizens of this participation.

Patriarch Al-Rahi also received messages of congratulations on the Annunciation Day, from His Holiness Pope Francis, the Secretary of State of the Vatican City, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and a number of cardinals and bishops.

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