Tuesday, July 17, 2007
POPE SHENOUDA III REACTS
Pope Benedict XVI’s pride in the primacy of Catholicism is making him enemies, said the head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox church.
“The man (Pope Benedict) makes enemies every time,” said Pope Shenouda III, leader of the 10 million Coptic Christians in Egypt, according to the state-run daily Al-Ahram.
“In his first statements a few months back, he lost all the Muslims,” he said Saturday, referring to the Pope’s speech in Germany last year when he associated Islam with violence. “And now this time, he lost a lot of the Christian denominations because he has begun to err against Christians themselves.”
Shenouda was reacting to the pope’s approval of a document last Tuesday that reasserted the Vatican’s position on the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church as the “one true church,” while all non-Catholic churches are simply “ecclesial communities.”
“Other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation,” the pope was quoted as saying.
The Coptic head said the statement was the result of Catholic pride, as though “they were the only Christians in the world,” according to Reuters.
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There is an unwritten message in this and other similar reactions. Would a Catholic be upset because Pope Shenouda claimed the Coptic Orthodox Church was the one true Church? Isn't that, after all, what we would expect Pope Shenouda to believe? If he didn't believe that, wouldn't we think he should join the church that he believed was the one true church? But he is upset because the Catholics claim they have the truth. I would suggest that what is implied by that statement is his fear that the Catholic Church is actually right in this proclamation. Otherwise why would he care?