Egypt’s new Coptic Orthodox pope, Tawadros II, elected earlier this week, has been interviewed by several private television channels, in which he spoke frankly about a number of critical issues facing Egypt’s Coptic-Christian community.
For one, Tawadros has stressed that the church has “no political role,” as this should be reserved for Egypt’s political parties. The church, he said, should only play a “spiritual and social role,” noting that overlaps between the two could potentially lead to disturbances within society.
Tawadros has also stressed his agreement with late pope Shenouda III’s decision to ban Egypt’s Copts from visiting Jerusalem until the issue of Palestine has been justly resolved.
“There’s a peace treaty between the governments [of Egypt and Israel], but the Egyptian public rejects the notion of normalisation with Israel,” he said. “We won’t encourage Copts to visit Jerusalem, as we can’t accept the idea of Copts selling out the Arab cause.”
Pope Tawadros II has also voiced his rejection of a parliamentary quota for Coptic MPs.
“Rather, we must gradually prepare Egyptian society, with the support of political parties, to accept Coptic parliamentarians – only 30 in the beginning, perhaps, before gradually increasing the percentage of Coptic representatives,” he said.