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Pope in Egypt: Sidrak (Coptic Catholic Patriarch),“the Pope is a friend and a friend in need is a friend indeed”

“The Pope is a friend and a friend in need is a friend indeed”. Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, the Patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt (about 300,000 faithful out of 12 million Christian-Orthodox) commented on the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Egypt (28 and 29 April) in an interview with SIR news agency. The Patriarch touched on some critical aspects of the trip which, he explained, is intended to show “the world that despite going through difficult times, our country longs for peace and stability. Hence it deserves to be supported”. The Pontiff, he went on to say, will remind the local Catholic community that “we are an integral part of the Catholic Church in the world. We are not a little flock. It is time we focused more on our presence and less on our minority”. Equally important for the Patriarch is the need for dialogue with Islam. “As Christians, we have no choice”. “It sometimes happens at official meetings, at conferences, at events providing opportunities for study and dialogue, that people do not speak their minds for fear of upsetting their audience in stressing points that may contrast with the views expressed. It is crucial, however, to participate and engage in dialogue”. It is thus necessary to pray for our “society to grow and develop in dialogue. It is hard to believe that the Pope’s visit will work miracles and bring about immediate change. I hope, however, that the Pope’s presence will be seen an opportunity for change and for a new beginning”. It is not enough to have “good meetings and great speeches, the reality demands courage and great care”. Which is what is also needed to address other types of attacks – besides those by IS terrorists – coming from the “speeches and teachings of both religious and non-religious persons”. In several madrasas, there are people who have been studying alone for years without engaging in dialogue with anyone. It is quite a shock to these people to exchange views with others”.




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