The Rt Rev Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton, is to travel to Lebanon on Sunday 18 July 2010 at the request of the Maronite Church.
The visit is an opportunity to deepen the relationship between the Bishops of England and Wales and the Catholic community in Lebanon.
“I felt the best way to show the Bishops’ solidarity with the people of Lebanon and, in particular, the Maronite Catholic community was to accept the invitation to travel to the country and learn about the challenges, hopes and expectations of the people firsthand,” said Bishop Lang.
“I am particularly looking forward to meeting with Cardinal Sfeir of the Maronite Church to assure him of our prayers and support.”
Bishop Lang will be accompanied by Dr Harry Hagopian, the Bishops’ Conference’ Consultant on the Middle East, who said:
“Those who know Lebanon or come to understand or visit Lebanon will realise that it has a very positive side. Christians are extremely attached to their faith, values and customs – as are Muslims. In a sense we need to express our support to the Christian churches – to the Catholic Church through the visit of Bishop Declan – but also to show we support interreligious dialogue.
“Interreligious dialogue and the coming together of these different confessional communities is, to my mind, a very singularly Lebanese form of democracy.”