ACN News: Wednesday, 27th June 2012 – EGYPT
EGYPT: Church expresses confidence in President-Elect Mohammed Mursi
By John Pontifex
The acting head of the Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt has written an open letter to the new President full of hope for the emergence of a united, democratic and tolerant country.
In his message to President-Elect Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Bishop Kyrillos William, administrator of the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria, expressed confidence in the Islamist leader’s willingness to work with all sections of society for the common good.
Bishop William, who is standing in for Cardinal Patriarch Antonios Naguib, incapacitated by a stroke last year, describes in his letter hopes of the country’s “renaissance” with the guarantee of security, peace and social justice.
Writing on behalf of the Coptic Catholic Church which numbers 250,000 in Egypt, Bishop William tells Mr Mursi: “We are confident that, with the help of the Almighty, and with your wisdom, you will be able to work for the best interests of the nation and its people…”
(Bishop Kyrillos William, administrator of the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria)
In the letter, a copy of which the patriarchate sent to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need on the evening of June 25th, Bishop William goes on to highlight extracts from President-Elect Mursi’s post-election victory speech on Sunday (24 June).
Bishop William stresses Mr Mursi’s apparent “willingness to collaborate with qualified people and heads of all groups and sectors…”
The bishop states: “We pray that the Lord gives you success in the search for… the development of a modern, democratic, civil state, a state that respects the rights and freedoms of all and guarantees security, peace and social justice.”
Concluding with a message directed at the Egyptian people, he calls on all sections of society to reconcile and pull together to build a new country.
The bishop, who until Patriarch Naguib’s illness was Bishop of Assiut, Upper Egypt, writes: “We wish that Egyptians forget their differences… and pull together with one heart for the good of the country… for Egypt needs the effort, experience, ideas and strength of all her children to bring about its renaissance.”
Bishop William’s comments echo those made recently by fellow Coptic Catholic Bishop Joannes Zakaria of Luxor who told Aid to the Church in Need that he was reassured by Mr Mursi’s post-election address, particularly its references to cooperation with Christians and other minorities.
Senior clergy have in the past expressed concerns about the rise of Mr Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which was oppressed by former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, and which has been variously described as militant, intolerant and Islamist.
In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need last month, Bishop Antonios Mina of Guizeh (Giza) responded to the continuing uncertainty over the outcome of the presidential elections by casting doubts on the Muslim Brotherhood.
He said: “The Muslim Brothers say one thing then tomorrow they do another thing. They don’t maintain their promises – that’s the problem.”
Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 162 languages and 48 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
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