Thursday December 02, 2021

Pope offers X-mas messages for Lebanon, South Sudan

December 25, 2020

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis expressed his desire to visit crisis-hit Lebanon and urged political leaders in South Sudan to continue working for peace in Christmas Eve messages.

Lebanon was plunged into its worst economic crisis in decades by the devastating port blast in Beirut in August. In a message to cardinal Bechara Rai, the patriarch of the Maronite Church, the 84-year-old pontiff said on Thursday he hoped to visit Lebanon "as soon as possible".

"Beloved sons and daughters of Lebanon, I am deeply troubled to see the suffering and anguish that has sapped the native resilience and resourcefulness of the Land of the Cedars," he said.

He appealed to Lebanon’s leaders "to seek the best interest of the public" and for the international community to "help Lebanon to surmount this grave crisis and resume a normal existence".