Tawadros II thanks Cardinals and
Pope Francis for the "Blessed Choice"The patriarch of Orthodox Copts sends a telegram of best
wishes to Pope Francis. Al-Azhar greets the new pontiff but continues to call on
the Catholic Church to issue an apology. The spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic
Church criticises the superficiality of Egyptian media.
Cairo (AsiaNews): Egypt's
Orthodox Coptic Church has thanked Catholics for the election of the new pope
and sends its greetings to the new Bishop of Rome, Francis.
In a telegram
sent last night, Tawadros II, patriarch of Orthodox Copts, expressed his
personal greeting to the pope. "News of your election as head of the Catholic
Church fills my heart with joy," said the telegram. "I congratulate you and the
cardinals wholeheartedly for this blessed choice. Your Holiness, I wish you good
health and long life, that through your work the Catholic Church may grow and
bear witness to Christ in the entire world."
Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand Imam at
Al-Azhar, the world's main Sunni university, also sent his congratulations. In
his message, the Muslim leader, who broke off relations with the Vatican in 2010
during Benedict XVI's pontificate, stressed however that "Islam asks for respect
from the new pontiff." For many, al-Tayeb's statement is a sign of openness by
the Sunni university, but his message to Francis follows similar ones made in
Over the years, al-Tayeb has in fact on several
occasions called on Benedict XVI to issue an official apology for a plea he made
on behalf of Christians murdered in the Middle East during New Year's Mass in
2011, which he made in the wake of the horrendous attack of 31 December 2010 at
the al-Qidissin (Saints) Coptic Church in Alexandria that left dozens dead, as
well as the mass slaughter of Christians at Our Lady of Salvation Syriac
Catholic Church in Baghdad.
Speaking about media coverage of the papal
election, Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, said
that the local press is also divided between those who welcome the election of
the pope, an show respect for the Catholic Church, and those who reprint stories
that have appeared in the West's yellow press that accuse Francis of doing
nothing during Argentina's military regime.
"Articles in Egyptian press divide three ways," Fr
Greiche said. The first group prints only news from the main news agencies like
Reuters, AP and AFP (for example, Al-Arham). The second relegates the story to
the back pages with short articles without any in-depth analyses (mostly Arabic
language newspapers). The third group, which is closer to the liberal camp,
includes papers established following the Arab spring (for example, Al-Masry
al-Ayoum) and is in favour of the new pontiff."
According to the priest however, Egyptian media
for the most part has treated the pope's election with superficiality, repeating
the errors of the main international news agencies.
"No one has grasped the spiritual and religious
significance of the pope's election, and the importance that the conclave has
for Catholics. Most articles are vague, do not know the difference between a
bishop and a cardinal and view the bishop of Rome as an ordinary religious
leader that speaks to his people and not to the whole