Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï, turns 80
Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï, turns 80 years old. He's the leader of the Maronite Catholic Church, one of the 24 Churches in communion with the Catholic Church. It's present in countries like Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Sudan and Egypt. Thus, Boutros Raï is the patriarch of a Church that can be considered persecuted.
CARD. BÉCHARA BOUTROS RAÏ
“We cannot talk about secularism in the Middle East. That's why the West and Europe do not find value in Christians. They give value to oil and trade, but for them Christians are a minority that has no value. Unfortunately, they despise Christian values. What we want is for Europe to understand the value of the Christian presence as a way to create moderation, democracy, to spread public liberties and, most importantly, freedom of expression, which does not exist.”
Béchara Boutros Raï was named bishop by John Paul II in 1990. In 2011, the Maronite synod chose him to be the new Patriarch of Antioch. In 2012, Benedict XVI made him a cardinal. The patriarch frequently travels to Rome and updates Pope Francis on the situation in the Middle East.
As he turns 80 years old, he is still part of the 223 members of the College of Cardinals. However, he is no longer one of the 123 electors.
Translation: Claudia Torres