A BEACON OF HOPE IN THE ALLEYS OF SOHO ANNA ARCO HAS A PEEK AT ST PATRICK’S BEFORE IT RE-OPENS PAGE 9
Church leaders say Egypt is on a knife edge
BY STAFF REPORTER
COPTIC leaders have said that Egypt is in danger of becoming an Islamist country if Christians do not engage in the political process.
Bishops told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that the future of their country hangs in the balance and that no one really knows what will happen next.
Cardinal Antonios Naguib, the Coptic patriarch of Alexandria, said: “This is the moment for everyone in the Church to really participate in the evolution of society. What matters is to have the confidence in our beliefs and to have the strength to express our message, particularly at this important time.”
Egypt’s bishops pointed out that the country’s large number of Christians could have a significant impact on the political landscape when parliamentary and presidential elections are held later on this year. Christians make up at least 10 per cent of Egypt’s total population which consists of 84 million people.
They said that the Christian response during elections could have a huge effect on other countries in the Middle East where the Church’s existence lies in jeopardy.
The military caretaker government, which replaced President Hosni Mubarak, is due to lift emergency laws ahead of parliamentary elections in September, the first of its kind in decades. The presidential elections due in October or November will be only the second such vote in Egypt’s history.
Bishop Joannes Zakaria of Luxor said: “This is the opportunity we have been waiting for for years.”
The interim regime has showed a more tolerant attitude to Christians amid reports that it is considering proposals to make it easier for churches to be built. Until now, it has only been possible to obtain permission to build a church with permission from the President himself.
The charity Aid to the Church in
Need (ACN) reported that the country faced falling into the hands of Islamist extremists who have a history of violence against religious minorities. A new fact-finding report on Egypt prepared by ACN said that an attack on the Coptic Orthodox Church of the Virgin in a Cairo suburb where 12 people were killed earlier this month was indicative of the struggle for Egypt’s political future which lies ahead. The attack, the report said, was the climax of a surge in violence against Christians.
Islamist parties are as strong in numbers as the pro-democracy movement which toppled Mr Mubarak earlier this year, the report said. The charity fears that the Islamist groups could heighten pressure on Christians and other minority groups, forcing them to flee the country.
But the report also said that it could be risky for Christians to speak out, especially as it could escalate existing tension between the large Coptic Orthodox Church, led by Pope Shenouda III, and Coptic Catholics, who number a quarter of a million people at most.
The charity spoke to clergy and lay people in parishes and convents across Egypt and found that Catholics were shocked by the size and organisational capacity of the groups of extremists who surfaced after Mr Mubarak’s resignation. One senior priest said: “The extremists are like monkeys released from a cage.”
Bishop Makarios Tewfik of Ismalia, east Egypt, said: “Under Mubarak the Muslim Brothers and other extremists were under Gestapo control; they were underground. Now they are very visible. They may get up to half the seats in the next election. This is a great concern for us. We have got to speak out.”
Christians said they were terrified that extremists would seize power and enforce Sharia law, turning Egypt into a country like Saudi Arabia or Iran.
Pope Benedict XVI speaks to a group of astronauts circling the Earth
May 27 2011 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.70)
Astronauts chat to Pope via video link to space
AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano
BY SARAH DELANEY IN VATICAN CITY
POPE BENEDICT XVI reached into outer space last week to ask astronauts how their unique perspective from the frontier of the universe makes them think about difficult questions back on Earth.
In a video link-up between the Vatican and the International Space Station in orbit around the Earth Pope Benedict asked the astronauts how science can help in the pursuit of peace and the need to protect a fragile planet.
Seated at a desk in front of a video screen, the Pope could see the 12 astronauts huddled before the camera and trying not to float away from lack of gravity inside the super-technological space station. The group included space station crew and members of the final mission of the US shuttle Endeavour.
The Pope praised the space travellers for their courage and commitment, and reminded them that after their extraordinary experience, they “must eventually come back down to earth like all the rest of us”.
His first question dealt with violence and war, and was addressed to the Endeavour mission commander, US astronaut Mark Kelly, whose wife, Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was still recovering after being critically injured in a shooting in January.
Pope Benedict wished Miss Giffords a full recovery and, speaking to Mr Kelly, said: “When you are contemplating Earth from up there, do you ever wonder about the way nations and people live together down here, about how science can contribute to the cause of peace?”
Mr Kelly said that because the space station itself was up and running only as a result of the efforts of many countries, it was itself a good model for international cooperation. And because it is operated entirely on limitless solar power, he said, better development of that technology on Earth could reduce the struggle over energy resources, which is the cause of much of the violence and war in the world now.
Pope Benedict noted that he often spoke of humanity’s responsibility to protect the Earth in an ethical manner, and to guarantee the survival of future generations. He asked Endeavour crew member Ron Garan what he could see on Earth from his perch in space that needed attention.
Mr Garan said the fragility of both the Earth and the atmosphere was most evident. “To think that this paper-thin layer is all that separates every living thing from the vacuum of space and is all that protects us is a really sobering thought,” he said.
Ordinariate awaits blessing from Vatican for new liturgical books
BY ANNA ARCO
THE FIRST liturgical books for the ordinariate have been completed and are awaiting Vatican approval.
Mgr Keith Newton, the ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, said that distinctive new l i turgical texts and prayers had been prepared for the new structure. He had hoped that the newly developed liturgy would be ready for the ordinariate’s first wave of ordinations to the priesthood at Pentecost but he now says it is unlikely they will be approved by Rome in time.
Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England tend to use the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite for Mass but continue the Anglican traditions of evensong and Benediction. When the Anglicanuse parishes in the United States joined the Catholic Church under the pastoral provision in the 1980s they developed the Book of
Divine Worship. The book, which draws from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and the earlier Sarum Rite, was approved for their use by the Congregation for Divine Worship in 1984.
Mgr Newton said liturgical books for the ordinariate have “an Anglican flavour but they are not bringing over any set Anglican liturgy and they are not simply taking over the Book of Divine Worship. It will be something quite different.”
The Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus allowed for Anglicans to bring “distinct Anglican patrimony” when they came into full communion with the Catholic Church. Ordinarinariates can “celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See”.
‘Our ’Enry’ given a Catholic funeral BY DAVID V BARRETT
SPORTS STARS and TV personalities joined parishioners for boxing legend Sir Henry Cooper’s funeral last week at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Tonbridge, Kent.
Earlier, hundreds of fans had lined the streets as the cortege left Oxted in Surrey, where the boxer and Catholic convert died aged 76. Entertainers
Jimmy Tarbuck, Bruce Forsyth and Sir Terry Wogan, sports commentator Des Lynam and footballers Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Charlton were among the celebrities at the funeral Mass in the boxer’s parish church. White roses in the hearse spelled out “Our ’Enry”. A wreath of red roses in the shape of a boxing glove was carried into the church.
John Paul statue like a ‘tent’, says newspaper BY ED WEST
THE VATICAN newspaper has criticised a newly built statue of Blessed John Paul II which it says has “little resemblance” to the late pontiff.
The 12ft bronze statue was unveiled outside Rome’s main railway station earlier this week, just three weeks after the last pope was beatified in the Vatican. It shows a cloak structure with the head of John Paul, based on an incident in 2003 when he jokingly wrapped a small boy in his robes. But an editorial in L’Osservatore Romano said: ‘It makes him look like a tent... it looks like a bomb has hit.’’
Architect Oliviero Rainaldi said: “I’m disappointed that my statute has been misunderstood... the idea was to present a message of universal love.”
Interview Meet Japan’s only married priest PAGE 7
Stuart Reid Female servers in the old form PAGE 20
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