First Published: 2006-03-17

 
Egypt's Copts reject court ruling on remarrying divorcees
 

Pope Shenuda III warns judicial court no power on earth can force on Church anything against teachings of gospels.

 

Middle East Online

Judicial court has no authority to carry out marriages: Shenuda III

CAIRO - 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.

"Granting divorces 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 authority."

Shenuda was commenting on a controversial ruling by the administrative judicial court on Tuesday.

Most churches, 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."

Shenuda first 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.

The Church's 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.

 

Arab leaders reject 'foreign interference' in their affairs

UN chief in Baghdad to review aid efforts

Lebanese PM Hariri visits Saudi Arabia

Turkey says military operation in northern Syria over

Palestinian pints divide Israeli pub

Rush hour on Mosul's 'displacement highway'

Palestinians commemorate ‘Land Day’

Qatar Airways to offer free laptops on US flights

American-Israeli teen arrested for US bomb threats 'has tumour'

Netanyahu vows to move ahead on new settlement plan

Tillerson says Assad’s fate up to Syrian people

Number of Syrian refugees tops five million says UN

Deal struck in Israeli row over public broadcaster

Palestinian NGOs urge Hamas to reopen border

Austria issues Turkey travel warning

US Secretary of State Tillerson in Ankara for talks

Jailed leader of pro-Kurd party to start hunger strike in Turkey

IS truck bomb kills at least 14 at Baghdad checkpoint

Iran says Arabs should focus on Zionist, not Iranian, meddling

Israel cuts $2-million contribution to UN

Israeli police shoot dead Palestinian woman armed with scissors

Bahrain sentences two to death for police bombing

Boat from Libya capsizes in Med, 146 migrants feared missing

Saudi police kill 2 gunmen during raid in Shiite-majority town

Over 60,000 S.Sudanese flee to Sudan in last three months

Bus bombing hits Syria's Homs, five dead

CAF chief Ahmad backs Morocco 2026 World Cup bid

US arrests Turkish banker for helping Iran violate sanctions

Turkey voices opposition to Kurdish flag in Kirkuk

Engineers to carry out urgent maintenance on IS-held Syria dam

Palestinian president meets Trump envoy at Arab summit

4 besieged Syria towns to be evacuated under deal

Arab leaders meet in Sweimeh on conflicts, 'terror'

No unanimity on Syria ahead of Arab Summit

UN says over 300 civilians killed since start of west Mosul offensive

Disputed Iraqi province votes to fly Kurdish flag

Germany laments Turkey's 'unacceptable' spying

Syria opposition says no peace deal without US role

Turkey sends delegation to UK over electronics ban

UN chief urges Arab leaders to confront Syria war

Carlos the Jackal sentenced to life for Paris bombing

Arab League set to oppose Trump Israel embassy shift

Tributes flood in for anti-apartheid hero Ahmed Kathrada

US vows to never allow 'Israel-bashing' at UN

Netanyahu ban on MP visits to flashpoint holy site challenged