Egypt's Copts reject court
ruling on remarrying divorcees
Judicial court has no authority to carry out
marriages: Shenuda III
Pope Shenuda III
warns judicial court no power on earth can force on Church anything against
teachings of gospels.
CAIRO, 2006-03-17 -
The head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church has strongly rejected a court order
obliging the church to let followers remarry after obtaining a civil divorce,
the semi-official al-Akhbar reported Friday.
falls within the jurisdiction of the court, but it has no authority to carry out
marriages," Pope Shenuda III told the paper. "Only the church has that
commenting on a controversial ruling by the administrative judicial court on
including the Coptic Church, seldom grant divorce and allow divorcees to remarry
only under strict conditions. These include a marriage being terminated due to
adultery or a member converts to another religion.
The church, said
Shenuda, was "implementing the teachings of the Holy Bible with regard to the
issue of marriage. And the Bible does not approve divorce except in the case of
adultery or change of religion."
criticised the court ruling during his weekly sermon and meeting with the
faithful on Wednesday, which also included a warning to priests who may be
tempted to heed the order.
"Be assured. No
power on earth can force on the church anything against the teachings of the
gospels or the Church," the independent Al-Masri al-Youm quoted the pope as
telling his flock.
"The Church will
never wed divorcees ... regardless of the court rulings," he added.
Many Copts face a
dilemma as a result of the church's uncompromising stance, with the many caught
up between loyalty to the church and the desire to terminate troubled marriages
at any cost.
following, which it claims to account for around 10 percent of the country's 73
million citizens, has dwindled over the issue, as many who want to get on with
their lives are forced to convert to other faiths.
Source: Middle East on Line,