By Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — After a day of prayer and reflection with Lebanon’s Christian leaders, Pope Francis urged political leaders in the country to set aside partisan interests that have devastated the country. At a prayer service concluding the summit July 1, the pope called for “an end to the few profiting from the sufferings of many,” a practice that has sacrificed peace and the common good. “Stop using Lebanon and the Middle East for outside interests and profits,” he said. “The Lebanese people must be given the opportunity to be the architects of a better future in their land without undue interference.” The pope and the nine Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant leaders began the day with a brief prayer in St. Peter’s Basilica and a day of reflections on and discussions about Lebanon and its religious, political, social and economic challenges. “Abana alathie,” Pope Francis intoned in Arabic as he led the Lebanese leaders in praying the Lord’s Prayer at the brief early morning service. After reciting the prayer and standing in silence for 10 minutes, the pope and leaders walked down the stairs under the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica to light candles.