The Metropolitan Archbishop of Beirut, Elias Audi, denounced the 2024 budget adopted by Parliament on January 26, stating that “the new taxes and tariffs imposed on citizens will further impoverish them without offering any social or medical services in return.”

During his Sunday sermon, Audi said that those in charge are continuing “to oppress citizens, squandering their savings and pushing the country to the abyss by perpetuating the vacuum in most institutions, particularly the presidency.”

He accused politicians of attempting to make citizens pay for “their own failure to manage the public sector, by dipping into citizens’ pockets and draining the little money they have left to meet their daily needs,” instead of concentrating their efforts on “controlling ports, preventing smuggling, combating waste, corruption and tax evasion and collecting dues.”

The Metropolitan urged civil servants to “repent and work hard to return every penny to its rightful owner.”

Expressing his sadness, he observed that “the Lebanese do not respect each other’s opinions, particularly in their comments on social networks,” which are filled with “hatred” and are aimed at “imposing their beliefs.”

He then asked, “Where is the democracy we brag about? And where is the freedom of opinion and expression guaranteed by the Constitution?”