Shenouda promised presidential decree on Coptic divorce, remarriage

Coptic Pope Shenouda III has received promises from a leading official of the ruling National Democratic Party that a presidential decree would soon be issued aimed at resolving the current crisis pertaining to Coptic divorce and remarriage, according to a source at the papal office.

The Supreme Administrative Court late last month issued a ruling obliging the pope to allow Coptic divorcees to remarry. The pope has since emphatically rejected the ruling.

The papal source added that the pope had expressed confidence that President Hosni Mubarak would personally intervene to resolve the problem.

Having been promised a resolution of the crisis, Shenouda called on supporters to suspend planned demonstrations against the court ruling. The church had expected more than 50,000 protesters to stage demonstrations in front of Coptic Church headquarters in Cairo.

“The protests would not have been in any way political,” said Bishop Bassenti of Helwan. “Protesters just wanted to articulate that the Bible represents the only frame of reference for Copts.”

“We abide by the Egyptian Constitution, which guarantees the freedom of religion,” Bassenti added. “And we are confident that the president will do his part to safeguard social stability and national unity with his decree.”

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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