“His Holiness the pope will visit Lebanon but after a government is formed. And this is a message to the Lebanese, that we must form a government so that everyone can gather… to revive Lebanon with our friends,” Lebanese politician Saad Hariri said after a private meeting with the pope in April.
A Vatican official confirmed in June that the pope intended to visit Lebanon once it successfully formed a government, adding that the trip could take place at the beginning of next year.
Rai was in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, for the International Eucharistic Congress when the news of the formation of a new government was announced on Sept. 10.
The Lebanese cardinal had been calling on the country’s political leaders for months to overcome partisan interests and form a government to help the country amid its economic crisis.
Lebanon’s new ministers face the challenge of coming into power at a time when three-quarters of the population live in poverty and there are widespread shortages of medicine, fuel, and food.
The World Bank has described Lebanon’s financial situation as among the “most severe crisis episodes globally since the mid-19th century.”
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