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Lebanese prelate under fire for plan to visit Israel

Catholic World News - May 09, 2014

Maronite Catholic Patriarch Beshara Rai faces criticism in Lebanon from Muslim leaders who object to the prelate’s plan to travel to Israel during the visit there by Pope Francis.

Cardinal Rai announced last week that he would travel to Israel on May 24-26 to greet the Pontiff. He would be the first Maronite Patriarch to visit state of Israel since it was established in 1948, and some Arabs protest that his appearance there will signal Church support for Israel.

The Maronite leader has countered that his visit to Israel is personal, that he is traveling to support the Pope, and that the Christian delegation will strengthen efforts to promote peace and free access for all to the holy sites of Israel.

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  • Posted by: jg23753479 - May. 12, 2014 12:22 PM ET USA

    And, were I a Maronite Catholic of any rank, I most certainly would support Israel. If it weren't for Israel, my Maronite churches would long ago have been burned to the ground and replaced with mosques.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - May. 10, 2014 3:26 PM ET USA

    "...and some Arabs protest that his appearance there will signal Church support for Israel." And so what is that to them? If they want to cherish enmity and hatred should the Prelate allow himself to be intimidated by their rage?

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