The reaction of the Bishop of Beirut to the conviction of Father Labaky

Very silent until then, how does the Lebanese Church react to the conviction of Father Mansour Labaky, by the French courts, to 15 years of criminal imprisonment for rape and sexual assault on minors? Solicited by The cross, Mgr Paul Abdel Sater, the bishop of Beirut on which Father Labaky depends and who had so far not wished to speak publicly, declared Thursday, November 11, to hope ” that this condemnation will be the last act of this long tragedye ”.

→ STORY. Sexual abuse: at the trial of Bishop Mansour Labaky, “finally a word of reparation for the victims”

I respect the decision of the French justice. I consider this condemnation as a sad moment in the life of the Church in Lebanon. », He reacted, adding to pray« for the inner peace of all victims ” but also ” for Father Mansour Labaky, so that he continues his process of conversion as requested by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “.

Before the conviction of November 9 for rape and sexual assault on minors by the Criminal Court of Caen, Father Labaky had indeed already been the subject of a conviction by the justice of the Church. By a decree published in 2013, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had found him guilty of sexual abuse of three minors and condemned him to a life of prayer and penance. Since then, he has been housed at the convent of the Sisters of the Cross in Broummana, east of Beirut, but has allowed himself on several occasions to go out in public, according to some witnesses in Lebanon. ” He has been warned that any breach of this conviction will have serious consequences », Underlined Mgr Abdel Sater.

Who could pronounce the dismissal of the clerical state?

If in his statements, Mgr Abdel Sater does not expressly comment on the crimes of Father Labaky recognized by French justice, the bishop had however affirmed to The cross, shortly before the trial, which he reiterated ” its firm condemnation of any act of sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable persons “. The bishop claimed to have ” not protected nor covered “, and ” that he will not protect or cover any priest in his diocese who is or will be condemned for such an act », While the victims of the condemned priest accuse the Maronite Church of protecting for years Mansour Labaky,” Monsignor Labaky “, a celebrity in his country.

If Mgr Abdel Sater really believes in the guilt of Mansour Labaky, why do the bishops, for whom he is the spokesperson, not sanction the priests and religious who defend him even after the civil condemnation?, loses one of the victims, Marilène Ghanem. And why does Mgr Abdel Sater allow the continuation of the lawsuit that Mansour Labaky brought against his victims? (1) If Labaky is a pedophile, why does the Maronite ecclesiastical authority not announce to its faithful the sentence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and that of Caen?

These same victims ask that the priest be dismissed from the clerical state but this decision, according to Bishop Abdel Sater, “ is not taken at the level of the diocese From Beirut. However, it seems, according to other sources, that Rome did not decide on this dismissal from the clerical state so as not to infringe on the right of the Eastern Churches and let the Maronite Church take the initiative.

Victims invited to file a complaint

During the trial, in Caen, Monday, November 8, the lawyer for the three plaintiffs of Mansour Labaky had launched: ” How many other children in Lebanon will dare to carry this word? Lebanese victims are surely many more numerous, but they cannot express themselves as long as Labaky has so much power in Lebanon “.

Questioned on this point, Mgr Abdel Sater affirms that ” any victim will be able to file a complaint for sexual abuse. This complaint will be followed very seriously until the outcome of the truth and all this while protecting the victim. “.


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