Show of Unity as al-Rahi Becomes Cardinal

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  • W460
  • W460
  • W460
  • W460

Politically divided Lebanese made on Saturday a show of unity during an official ceremony in Rome that allowed Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi to join the elite club of churchmen who will elect the next pope.

Pope Benedict XVI formally elevated five other prelates at the ceremony that was held at St. Peter's Basilica, bestowing red hats and gold rings on them.

With the new additions, the College of Cardinals is more multinational: Latin America, which boasts half of the world's Catholics, now has 21 voting-age cardinals; North America, 14; Africa, 11; Asia, 11; and Oceana, one.

In addition to al-Rahi, the new cardinals are: Archbishop James Harvey, the American prefect of the papal household. Abuja, Nigeria Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan; Bogota, Colombia Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez; Manila, Philippines Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle; and the major Archbishop of the Trivandrum of the Siro-Malankaresi in India, His Beatitude Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal.

In explaining his choices for this "little consistory," Benedict said he was essentially completing his last cardinal-making ceremony held in February, when he elevated 22 cardinals, the vast majority of them European archbishops and Vatican bureaucrats.

Cardinals serve as the pope's closest advisers, but their main task is to elect a new pope.

The six new cardinals are all under age 80. Their nominations bring the number of voting-age cardinals to 120, 67 of whom were named by Benedict, all but ensuring that his successor will be chosen from a group of like-minded prelates.

Around 500 officials and politicians led by President Michel Suleiman were among 1,500 Lebanese attending Saturday's ceremony.

Lebanese officials from across the political spectrum, except for Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Miqati, were on hand for the consistory.

Berri sent a representative and Miqati was represented by Information Minister Walid al-Daouq.

On the eve of the event, the pope emphasized the importance of dialogue as a means of solving problems among Lebanon's bickering politicians.

He made his remark during a meeting with Suleiman.

The pope also urged them to strengthen stability so that Lebanon remains “a model of interaction despite the difficulties” in the region.

His choice to elevate al-Rahi is seen by observers as a sign of Vatican support for religious diversity in Lebanon, which Benedict said was a "model" for the region during a visit in September.

The pope has called for peaceful coexistence between Islam and Christianity and has said Christians should stay in the Middle East despite rising Islamism.

Comments 8
Thumb andre.jabbour 24 November 2012, 12:47

Yesterday, he did one thing... he split the Lebanese with his comment about the 4 hezbo suspects.

Congrats for your ordination but stay out of Middle Eastern politics next time.

Default-user-icon Antonio (Guest) 24 November 2012, 14:20

The Patriarch did not split the Lebanese... The liar media did.
The following is what the Patriarch said:
"دور القضاء اللي بيتّهم (الاتهام)، دور القضاء اللي بيحقق (التحقيق)
دور القضاء اللي بيطيلع الحكم النهائي
ومش كل واحد يتّهم معناتا هوي عامل الجريمة
ما بدنا (بدنا) ننطر الحكم النهائي بالأول
The following is what the media said:
"وكان البطريرك الراعي ردّ على على مطالبة "14 آذار" بتسليم المتهمين الأربعة باغتيال الرئيس الحريري والمتهم بمحاولة اغتيال النائب حرب، بالقول: "لا يحق لاي طرف ان يطالب بتسليم المتهمين لان المتهم يبقى بريئا حتى تثبت ادانته والامر متروك كلياً للقضاء".

So, go check the facts before judging our Patriarch.

Thumb benzona 24 November 2012, 14:22

"sayedna"? Your sayyid is Hassan Nasrallah.

Thumb thefool 24 November 2012, 15:22

Finally some good news for Lebanon. The Article doesn't mention that Lebanon, for the first time, has two Cardinals, at once.

Mabrouk your Eminence.

Missing peace 24 November 2012, 17:22

so what? he became cardinal, what s the big deal? funny how unimportant matters are praised while hushing down the priorities....

Missing roger@10452 24 November 2012, 18:08

I think it is real good to see that many Lebanese attending this ceremony, but the big question is whether the government paid the travel expenses for all those "500 officials and politicians led by President Michel Suleiman"???

Travel expenses for the Presient and a "SMALL" delegation must be covered by the goevernment, but not for every Tom and Dick and Harry who is already on the government payroll and not adding any value to the Lebanese GDP. Someone might argue that the majority of those guys are actually destroying economic value in the country, but that is a different discussion.

If the government covered the travel cost for 500 politicians at an average $10,000 per person, that equals to $5,000,000 out of the treasury...hmmmm, I wonder if anyone can think of a project or two that this money could be better spent on!!! how about some roadwork, or a new bridge, or maybe upgrading an exiting water tretament plant...

In any event, Mabrouk Saydina!!!

Missing peace 24 November 2012, 21:07

i guess the church paid for it no? they make money out of lebanese for all their paperwork (marriage, divorce, renting of church rooms and so on...) so they can afford inviting officials to have a week end in rome! lol

Missing peace 24 November 2012, 21:05

you see where the real priorities are for them...bling bling that s all