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Coptic Catholic leader praises new Coptic Orthodox pope, advises focus on spiritual matters

Catholic World News - November 12, 2012

The bishop who administers the Coptic Catholic Church praised the new Coptic Orthodox pope as the best of the three candidates and urged him to focus on spiritual matters.

“Pope Tawadros has got to work for the rights of Christians, but not so much in a political way; leave the lay people to represent themselves,” said Coptic Catholic Bishop Kyrillos William, who is administering the Coptic Catholic Church following a severe stroke by its patriarch.

“Many people thought the last pope [Shenouda III] spoke for all the Copts,” he added. “This was not right. The Copts have to speak for themselves, while the pope deals with pastoral and spiritual affairs.”

The Coptic Orthodox Church, based in Egypt, traces its origins to St. Mark’s evangelization of Alexandria. Like other Oriental Orthodox churches, it ceased to be in full communion with the Holy See following the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451.

The Coptic Orthodox Church has nine million members, most of them in Egypt; the Coptic Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, has 162,000 members.

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