Father Andraous Azīz writes about the problems facing married Coptic Orthodox priests and reciters which prevent them from performing their mission in teaching Christian ethics to people.
The most important restrictions and fetters that shackle priests’ hands is that they must blindly obey bishops. Priests are at the mercy of bishops. They can not express their opinions, speak or interpret God’s words without bishops’ permission otherwise they may face a wage cut or even be sacked.
There are no explicit written cannons under which a priest can be tried. Priests are tried according to bishops’ views and if this priest is liked by the bishop. A priest may be deprived from his rights and be excommunicated without a fair trial as happened to a priest [whose name the author did not mention] who, after being sacked started to beg in al-Jāmi‘ square wearing a priest’s uniform.
The problem as such may not be resolved except by the formation of a strong apolitical organization that protects married priests and reciters. The establishment of such an organization needs courageous priests indeed who can convince pious bishops about their demands and can even put pressure on the Coptic people.
In the past, most churches were run by secular administrations as most of them were built by charities. The priests then were appointed and paid by these administrations. The situation was changed after bishops took control of the churches and removed the secular administrations as a kind of politicization of the church.