Maronite Bishops Condemn Violence

BEIRUT (CNS) — Maronite Catholic bishops, lamenting the violence in the Middle East, said democracy cannot be achieved through violence.

“Democracy is a long way, built brick after brick,” with the aim of reaching a civil system built upon equality, equal opportunities and liberty of expression and beliefs, the bishops said in a statement at the conclusion of their June 5-11 synod at the patriarchal seat in Bkerke, Lebanon.

Pointing to the region’s “historical stage,” the bishops reiterated the message of the special Synod of Bishops’ for the Middle East in Rome last October, saying that “violence cannot establish democratic values quickly.”

In an apparent reference to the situation in Syria, the bishops said they joined their prayers with Pope Benedict XVI for an end to the violence, particularly the bloodshed, and for “the concerned authorities (to) initiate dialogue with their citizens, to respond to the legitimate expectations of the rising young generations” who are hoping for “a promising and stable future.”

Thirteen Maronite bishops from 10 countries joined Lebanese prelates at the synod, the first at which Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai presided.

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