In this article the author refutes the claims about Pope Shenouda’s dictatorship.
Some dissenters, especially priests who were given sentences by the Holy Synod, claim that Pope Shenouda’s administration of the church is dictatorial and that he does not believe in democracy and opposition. The author, however, argues that the pope is firm and not dictatorial and that this firmness is necessary because of the responsibilities he has.
The author further refutes these claims pointing out that the church is governed through the Holy Synod which represents the clergy. According to the eighth and ninth articles of the bylaw issued in 1985, the Holy Synod is the supreme legislative and judiciary authority in the church; it is responsible for making laws and handling prosecutions. The tenth article stipulates that it is the authority responsible for interpreting the principles of faith. Article 43, in addition, states that any decision is not approved by the Holy Synod unless 75 percent of the present members agree on it.
The author wonders how the pope is accused of being a dictator while he has only one vote in the Holy Synod and in order for a decision to be taken it should be approved by a majority of 75 percent. Furthermore, any decision taken by the Holy Synod is binding for the pope even if it runs against his opinion [Editor: which is extremely unlikely to happen. Pope Shenouda enjoys a tremendous authority that not many bishops dare to challenge, the great majority of Bishops has been consecrated by Pope Shenouda. It is thus a fact that Pope Shenouda’s opinion carries much more weight then what Nabīl Lūqā Bībāwī suggests here. Compare this article to the next one in this issue that shows how far Pope Shenouda’s authority reaches] .
The author stresses that the church is ruled through a democratic institution [Editor: in theory yes] and asks the slanderers to stop making false allegations against the pope and the church.