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Three questions….to Jacques Gaillot








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Three questions….to Jacques Gaillot

The demonstrations in Beirut bring without doubt some hope to the Lebanese people but are they not afraid to bring back the divisions of the past? How do you analyze the events that followed the death of Raffic Hariri?
The assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister has been a trigger event. It gave to the Lebanese people the opportunity to express their wish for freedom, for the Arab leaders to take party and Syria to move their soldiers out. For the first time peaceful demonstrations have forced an Arab government to dismiss.

peuple libanais However nothing is simple in Lebanon as in the Middle East. 
In Lebanon, oppositions are still present. For Lebanese Hezbollah and Shiite community nothing can be solved before the end of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It tells how urgent is peace in this region.
Anyhow for many Lebanese, the departure of the Syrian security forces is a liberation.
Lebanese history seems to show that nationalism (promoting the nation) is a factor of unity. Instead, religion looks like a factor of division. Isn't it painful for a man of the Church like you?
What is painful for me is to see the Lebanese people interested more by their belonging to their own religious community than by the problems of their country, such as unemployment. The common good should prevail. When the crowd was demonstrating on Liberty Square, the concern for the «nation» came first. Differences that were usually separating the Lebanese were put in the background. This gives hope.

à Beyrouth 

Cardinal Sfeir, Maronit Patriarch of Lebanon, is well respected in the country. Nothing can be done without him. He understands that the partitioning between denominations at the religious and political level has to be overcome, but he said, «People have to learn to think in another way»
Let us speak again about the Pope's health. He left hospital but still looks very feeble. It is hard to imagine that he continues to manage the affairs of the Church. Don't you think that his role is going to be exclusively symbolic even iconographic? Certainly it is a function for the pope but is it sufficient?
We know now that the Pope is in the terminal phase of the Parkinson disease. In his medical apartment in the Vatican, his Polish secretary is all-powerful. To be able to see and speak to the Pope, one has to have permission from him. Otherwise we are left with few appearances of John-Paul II. Power is elsewhere. Other prelates take care of the affairs of the Church. It is just management but no decision. One is more interested by the Pope's health than by the state of the Church.
The Cardinal of Köln said for the World Youth Gathering to be held this summer: « It is enough that the Pope be present. His only presence is a testimony for the young».
on fait une icône The Pope has been made into an icon that is presented and moved around. 

The life of the Christian people deserves more.

(Interviewed by Olivier Galzi)