Do not abandon Lebanon, say church leaders
A GLOBAL day of prayer and fasting was held last Friday in solidarity with people in Lebanon. The country “cannot be abandoned”, the Pope said. The Archbishop of Canterbury posted on Twitter that he was joining in. The energy and environment programme manager at the UN Development Programme’s Lebanon office, Jihan Seoud, warned last week that the explosion could have a devastating impact on the environment. There have been an estimated 800,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste lying in the city since the incident. It was likely to include pesticides, heavy metals, and industrial chemicals that posed a health risk, Ms Seoud said. Waste-management systems were overwhelmed and at “breaking-point.” The Prime Minister of Lebanon, Giuseppe Conte, visited Beirut on Tuesday, to discuss Lebanese-Italian economics and trading.
Belarus denies entry to archbishop
THE Archbishop of Minsk-Mogilev, the Most Revd Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, was denied entry to Belarus last week on his return from Poland. He said that no reason was given for his being stopped and that he was keen for the border authorities not to inflame tensions further. Also last week, the UN called for an end to the detainment and torture of those protesting the country’s election result last month (News, 21 August). The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has been under pressure to resign after he was accused of rigging the election to allow him to serve a sixth term. On Wednesday, it was reported that Maxim Znak, one of the few leading opposition figures still at large, was detained by masked men.
Gossip a ‘plague worse than Covid’ says Pope
THE Pope has warned people against gossiping. “Chatter is a plague worse than Covid,” he said, before leading the Angelus from the Vatican on Sunday. Judging another person by telling the entire community when they made mistakes could have a damaging impact, he said, and urged people instead to help privately anyone at fault before seeking the help of others if the person did not correct their mistake. From that point, he said, they needed to “put the brother in God’s hand” (Press, page 26).