In a meeting held by Lions Clubs International in Egypt, Pope Shenouda adopted a softer stance towards Copts who travel to Jerusalem for personal interests.
Pope Shenouda allowed a student at the American University in Cairo [AUC] to travel with a group of students headed by Dr. Sa‘d al-Dīn Ibrāhīm, a professor of Political Sociology at AUC, to Jerusalem.
He said that he does not oppose traveling for special interests. He indicated that there are priests who travel to Jerusalem to manage Coptic property and that some Coptic contractors work there. However, he added that if Copts are allowed to visit Jerusalem’s holy places they would be subject to influence from the Israeli media, which is something to be fearful of.
During the meeting, which was attended by Maḥmūd Hamdī Zaqzūq, the minister of religious endowments, Pope Shenouda talked about freedom. He asserted that Christianity never promoted absolute freedom, but rather propounded the idea of disciplined freedom. He pointed out that all forms of freedom, such as freedom of opinion, publication, assembly, and expression including personal freedoms must be observed under the rule of law.
In a question about his opinion on the separation of religion and state, he said that clergymen cannot be engaged in politics because it is not their job. However, they may express their opinions concerning politics without being engaged in it.