Rorate Caeli

Maronite Patriarch confronts Hezbollah

The Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and the Whole Levant, Mar Nasrallah Boutros Cardinal Sfeir, has denounced in no uncertain terms the threat posed by the extremist Shiite group Hezbollah to Lebanon's identity, in the process facing the wrath of the Hezbollah -- which insults Christians even as it demands respect for its "religious sentiments"
Pray for the ancient Christian communities of Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan and the Holy Land, that they will continue to be steadfast in the face of oppression and fanaticism.


  1. Anonymous6:53 PM

    The first link isn't working. Please advise.
    The Daily Star link is working though.

  2. Anonymous7:28 PM

    I note that His Eminence is now 89 years old and is only one of two remaining serving Johnine bishops left in the Church. That's right: he was first appointed bishop by John XXIII. The other serving Johnine is the Chaldean Patriarch. Eastern-Rite patriarchs generally serve for life.

    Does anyone know how healthy His Eminence is at age 89? I've heard that he conducted important negotiations with politicians in Lebanon less than a year ago. It sound to me as if we may have another future centenarian bishop on our hands! At the moment, we have two bishops who are over 103.


  3. Iakovos8:23 PM

    The Church has its share of martyrs East and West, in different times and under different conditions, but there is a unity of suffering in this real=time threat of loss of life. Compared to such groups as the SSPX who claim persecution for nearly 40 years, they're cry-babies compared to their more mature and brave and real-time martyrs and brothers of the East, from the Ukraine under Nazi Germany and Stalin, to those dying now in Iraq, elsewhere in the Middle East, and here in Lebanon. Glory be to the New Martyrs of the Middle East.

  4. Louis E.8:46 PM

    Cardinal Sfeir certainly seems more durable than his predecessor Cardinal Khoraiche.But the last active bishop consecrated under Pius XII (Cardinal Korec,a "catacomb bishop" in Communist-controlled Czechoslovakia before receiving a diocese after the fall of Communism) only retired in 2005.

    Perhaps most impressive in tenure is Bishop Mennona (Emeritus of Nardo-Gallipoli,its second former bishop to turn 100 in recent years).He was ordained a priest in August 1928!!

  5. Anonymous9:32 PM

    It seems to have to do with politics.

    In Lebanon, I think, there is a political coalition that united Shiites and huge share of Christians. The other side is a pro-Western group of Sunnis and Christians.

    Sfeir is pro-Western, but not all Lebanese Christians are pro-Western. It's a complicated business over there, I would not make any harsh judgements before analyzing the situation in detail.

  6. There, I've fixed the first link.

    Yes, it does have a political color, but the "politics" here is deeply rooted in sectarian conflict, and the Cardinal's warnings against Hezbollah -- while not explicitly aimed at Islam, or else he'll only create more enemies -- are obviously aimed at the kind of Islamic extremism and statism that Hezbollah seeks to establish in that little country.

  7. Anonymous2:33 AM

    It's time for a new crusade to aid the Maronite Church and all the faithful Catholic Christians in the Middle East. Soon enough praise JMJ.

  8. Eis polla eti Despota!

  9. Anonymous3:54 PM

    Many Christians have allied with Hizbollah. You are regurgitating Zionist propaganda about Hizbollah's alleged hositlity to Christians. Hizbollah's hostility is to ZIONIST-"Christians" who do not care about Israeli war crimes and bombings and only want to sell Lebanon to Coca-Cola and "free trade;" this has been the legacy of the fascist "Phalange" which calls itself Catholic. Do not forget that in the the spring of 1994 the Israeli Mossad bombed a Maronite church in Lebanon, killing worshippers there.

  10. The US-informed readers here seem to buy into the one-sided anti-Hizbollah reports of Western media, but in fact, numerous Maronites I know (even those abroad) support Hizbollah since the 2006 Israeli bombing of Lebanon.

    The Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites should take care not to abuse his authority to meddle into internal affairs of Lebanon. Keep neutral. That is important.

    Of course Shia Islamism cannot be accepted as such, as far as it curtails Catholic religious exercises in public. This cannot be accepted.

    But he should rather admonish the Maronite refugees to return and his flock to have as much children as the Muslim women. The secularizing Maronite pro-Western couples obviously contracept. That is a problem. That is also why the Shiites are winning. They have children. The Catholics of Maronite Rite do not have. Some conservative Maronites have. And they are now pro-Hizbollah and anti-Israeli due to the Israeli invasions.

    Things are more complex. A crusade would only make the situation worse for the Christians there.

    Lebanon is very complicated.

    Again, I am not pro-Hizbollah, but I do not want Church men to meddle into politics. It is dangerous for all Maronites, if Hizbollah attains power. Israeli invasions are not good either. Nor is Western influence always.

    Have more Maronite Children please! Let the extremely rich Maronite traders abroad pay. The richest men of Mexico and South America are Maronites! In Paris, the Maronites are very rich traders (like Armenians).

    Maronite Catholics and Armenians are still in the west and Near East what the Jewish traders were once in Europe and Russia: the rich ethnic classes!

    Let the rich pay for more children for the Church. Saudis pay for Sunni children too. Christians seem more secularized and less solidarious as a cultural unity there!

  11. Joe B8:08 PM

    Dear Hezbollah supporters,

    What was your excuse before 2006?

    Why should we side with anyone who openly calls for the annihilation of any people, Zionist or otherwise?

    Could it be that those who betray Christian ideals by supporting you might just be under a little bit of pressure of say, having the heads of people they care about sawed off on camera, should they say anything negative?

    And lastly, are you aware that you cannot get to Heaven through anyone except Jesus Christ, who is Lord and God of all of us, and that Mohammed was an enemy of His, and therefore leads you toward Hell?

  12. Jusztinián G. Rathkaj9:03 PM

    I agree completely with Stanislaw Wojtiech. The leader of the Maronites should be aware of the danger beeing exploited by the Hariri faction. There are enough problems in his church. Informed Visitors of Lebanon can not ignore anymore the fact that the overwhelming part of his flock take religion as serious as hypersecularized westerners. The vehement challenge for the viability of the maronite church Lebanon is rather western consumerism combined with its fatal consequences for the family than Hezbollah. If a inner conversion does not take place soon lebanese christendom's extinction is inevitable.

  13. Unfortunately, all attempts at "dialogue" with the false miltant religion mohamatenism in each of its disguises, are fated to end in eventual confrontation. They scatter in the realm of Our Blessed Lord. The dangerous rose-tinted perspective of utopianist post-conciliar ecumenical & intereligious politics of The Vatican represent poignant aspects of those several compromises admonished by Our Blessed Lady at Akita. There can be no dialogue with belial. The relativist liberal mind cannot grasp this reality - truth and falsehood do not bed well together. Holy Scriptures are adamantly clear about this and the history of The Church illustrates graphically the hatred false religions have for The Faith.

  14. Anonymous2:48 PM

    "...he should rather admonish the Maronite refugees to return and his flock to have as much children as the Muslim women. The secularizing Maronite pro-Western couples obviously contracept. That is a problem. That is also why the Shiites are winning. They have children. The Catholics of Maronite Rite do not have. Some conservative Maronites have. And they are now pro-Hizbollah and anti-Israeli due to the Israeli invasions."

    Excellent analysis by Stanislaw!

  15. Anonymous5:51 PM

    This is WAY off topic but I am hopeless with computers. In fact, my entire system was apparently 'hacked into' a few months ago. Now, recently, this horrid Shoppers' Bar pops up on Windows Explorer every time I do a search on my browser. Does anyone here know how to make this go away for all eternity? It must be an installed feature on all computers in Hell. I never want to see it again. Does anyone know how to make it go away?



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