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9. Pope Shenouda in a public meeting

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Article title: 
9. Pope Shenouda in a public meeting
Publishers: 
Year: 
2001
Week: 
26
Article number: 
9
Article pages: 
P.26
Date of source: 
July 1, 2001
Author: 
Husam ‘Abd al-Qadir
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Article summary: 

During a Rotary meeting, Pope Shenouda refused to comment on the incidents caused by Al-Nabaa newspaper, explaining it was in the hands of justice now. He said that he trusted the court which would give everyone his right. He added that anyone can make mistakes but to insult the monastery that expelled this man five years ago made the monks outraged.

Article full text: 

During a Rotary meeting, Pope Shenouda refused to comment on the incidents caused by Al-Nabaa newspaper, explaining it was in the hands of justice now. "I trust the court will give everyone his right. Anyone in the world can make mistakes, but to insult the monastery that expelled this man five years ago made the monks outraged. The story was told as if it took place in the monastery... Besides, publishing indecent photographs is an illegal act...


"God created us all equal, humans and angels.... But there is also responsibility and punishment... There is no such thing as total freedom. You cannot cross a red light and say I am free. You cannot insult others and say I am free. Freedom is limited by others’ freedoms and rights... You are not even free to kill yourself, you do not own yourself but God and the society own you... That is why suicide is a crime in Christianity...


There is the law of God: Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, and Thou shalt not commit adultery. There are also the laws of men, which govern the country. Man is free between the two laws.


It remains to say, freedom is freeing man from sins and errors. If one is free from the inside he can use freedom outside in the right way..."


Pope Shenouda made a connection between freedom and what people are tying to do with God’s creation: zygote banks, host mothers, and cloning. "God created nature beautiful as it is. Man should not interfere. Mad cow disease is an example..."


On Khul’a law [wife’s giving up all her rights in marriage in return for a divorce. Islam gives the right to end marriages only to one spouse, usually the husband. A judge can also rule a couple divorced in a lawsuit started by one spouse. However, there have been cases of unenforceable court decisions separating a couple against their will, such as the case of Nasr Hamid Abu-Zeid.] Pope Shenouda said he has "no right to interfere in Muslims’ affairs. In Christianity a woman can ask for a divorce. In addition, Egyptian law rules by Islamic Shari’a [law] if the couple have different religions. If a [Coptic] man or woman wants a divorce, have him/her change religion!! We are working on a unified personal status law for all faiths [Christian denominations?] but it is a time-consuming process. Parliament has been occupied with other business. We hope to pass this law.


"I am against a Christian girl marrying a Muslim. How could they both practice their rituals, in a mosque? In a church? How would she feel when her children have a different religion? Which fasting will the family go by, Ramadan, or Coptic Fasting? She would attend no masses and would be deprived of the church’s secrets. Her Christian sisters would not get married!


"... Visiting Jerusalem would mean naturalizing with the Jews [Translators note: Many Egyptians and Arabs see no great difference between Jews, Zionists, and Israelis.] We will not have relations with the Jews while land is still occupied... In addition, visitors to Jerusalem will be brainwashed by the Jewish media machine. We will enter Jerusalem only as Arabs, Muslims and Christians together... Besides, the sites there have changed, the places you think of are not the same anymore. We have in Egypt places where the Holy Family spent three years... The Jews are digging under the Aqsa Mosque, trying to find the Temple [of Solomon]... Muslims could not have built [the Aqsa] over the Temple... We do not approve of demolishing any Muslim shrine..."


[Translators note: Page 7 of the same October [magazine] had a news item on the same public appearance of Pope Shenouda. He told the story of an Israeli businessman who wanted to sell water from the Jordan River in Egypt, saying it was the place where Jesus was baptized. Pope Shenouda joked: "Well, if Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, he also lived in Egypt and drank from the Nile for three years. We should bottle and distribute the Nile’s water!"

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