Mubarak to Pope Shenouda: New personal status law within 2 months

Pope Shenouda III met privately with Legal Affairs Minister Mufid Shehab on Thursday at the papal residence in Abbasiya to discuss the new United Personal Status Law for non-Muslims, currently being prepared by a Justice Ministry commission.

“The commission charged with preparing this law has made considerable progress on a number of articles, and continues to work with diligence,” said Shehab in a press conference following the meeting. The minister also praised a draft law proposed by the Coptic Orthodox Church, saying it had been written with care.

Hani Aziz, the Pope’s counselor, noted that the minister brought a message from President Mubarak informing the Pope that Mubarak has asked the Justice Ministry commission to finish preparinng the law as soon as possible. According to Aziz, the president’s directive came after he learned that only nine of the 192 articles in the new law had been examined.

“The president has ordered that the new law be finalized within the next two months,” Aziz explained, adding that the Pope will not interfere in the process. What mattered to the Pope, Aziz noted, was “for the law to be issued as soon as possible, and that that it does not violate the Bible.”

Pope Shenouda expressed his gratitude to Mubarak for “his continued efforts to solve the Church’s problems and for understanding our rejection of what violates our sacred precepts.” As for the new law, the Pope affirmed his belief that the law would “not contravene our religious law.”

The Pope also asserted that the Church “would not back down” in its refusal to recognize second marriages for divorcees, noting that the government’s “respect for our doctrine encourages us.” Insisting that he would never accept such marriages, the Pope defiantly said that “whoever gets a civil marriage certifies his marriage in a secular manner.”

In his Wednesday sermon, Pope Shenouda argued that religious law does not change over time, criticizing those who claim that “religious law should change to keep pace with changes in society.”

“God’s word remains constant over the ages; we will adhere to and leave as-is the laws that Christ laid down,” he concluded.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

Related Articles

Back to top button