The Challenge Newspaper
New York, NY
November 29, 1987

Lebanese American Community sends position paper to Pope

The Lebanese American community in the United States has submitted a position paper on Lebanon to His Excellency the Ambassador of the Vatican to the United States, Most Reverend Pio Laghi, on the occasion of the visit of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to the United States.

For the first time, four major national Lebanese American organizations along with bishops of the Maronite, Melkite and Orthodox Churches have joined together to express their deepest concern to the Holy Father about their homeland, Lebanon. Coordinator of the project is Walid Maalouf and following is the position submitted:

Most Holy Father:

As Americans of Lebanese decent, we wish to express concern for the plight of a beleaguered country - Lebanon. This nation and its people have borne the violence of war and terrorism for over twelve years.

Your Holiness, we have been following with the greatest attention the different aspects of your keen interest in helping find an end to the war in Lebanon: the papal missions that were sent there; the numerous appeals and prayers for peace that you have made; and the unending and tireless activities of the Apostolic Nuncio in Beirut. On the occasion of Your Holiness' fortuitous visit to the United States, we should like to express our belief that peace should be reach in Lebanon if the international community, with the help and support of Your Holiness, could ensure the:

  1. Implementation of an immediate cessation of all violence in Lebanon as a prerequisite to a negotiated solution of the problem.
  2. Support of the legal government and preservation of the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Lebanon, and the withdrawal of all foreign forces.
  3. Re-establishment of a pluralistic society in Lebanon where all minorities can flourish in safety and freedom guaranteed by the United Nations.
  4. Preservation of democracy in Lebanon.
  5. Gain the release of all hostages and put an end to every kind of terrorism originating in Lebanon.
  6. Provide economic aid to Lebanon along with the medical and humanitarian relief so urgently needed.
  7. Enable all Lebanese refugees to return to their homes.

Most Holy Father, as we pray for peace in Lebanon, we also pray for peace throughout the world. And, while we recognized the dire need of the Lebanese people, we also pray that all the peoples of the world may live in peace. We are sure that Your Holiness is well aware of the dangers that the regional and international interest poses to the very existence of Lebanon. Should this country as a democratic and pluralistic society disappears, we have not doubt that peace would be more difficult to achieve, not only in the Middle East, but also even throughout the world. Our Holy Father, we love you, we need you and we thank you.

Signed by the Lebanese American Community in the United States of America:

Archbishop Francis M. Zayek Diocese of Saint Maron USA
Archbishop Joseph E. Tawil, Diocese of Newton for the Melkite USA
Metropolitan Philip Saliba, Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Beverly K. Kimes, President National Apostolate of Maronites
Joseph F. Buzaid, President Order of Saint Sharbel
Robert A. Basil, President American Lebanese League
Adelene Abercia, President Southern Federations
Sister Mary Michel M. Boulus, Lebanese American communities the Carolinas
Walid Maalouf, Coordinator