Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Terheyden

3/4/2011 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Authority is exercised legitimately only when it seeks the common good

As Christians, we understand freedom and sacrifice better than most. Thus, when we witness the tragedy of the Copts, we should recall that we have something of great value to offer the world. One way we can offer our wisdom to the world is by standing up to injustice and oppression whenever we encounter it in our own lives.

Saint Bishoy Monastery in Wadi el-Natroun, Egypt

Saint Bishoy Monastery in Wadi el-Natroun, Egypt

Highlights

By Michael Terheyden

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/4/2011 (4 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Copts, Christians, Anti-Christian, persecution, Egyptian Army, Saint Bishoy Monastery, Michael Terheyden


KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - We are witnessing a revolution by the people in Egypt. By the sheer force of their numbers, Muslims and Copts forced President Mubarak out of office. But now we need to ask ourselves if this historic change will bring greater freedom for all the people. Based on an article written by Mary Abdelmassih and published on the website of the Assyrian International News Agency, it appears that the revolution has not benefited Egypt's Coptic Christian minority and may portend a worsening situation for them.

After the uprising began about a month ago, the police who had been protecting the monks deserted their posts. One of the monasteries was subsequently attacked by prisoners who had escaped during the uprising. And six monks were injured at the second monastery when it was attacked by armed Arabs and robbers. As a result, the monks requested help from the state security office, but they were told that no police were available to help them. They also called the military and were told they had to protect themselves until the military could send help. It was then that the monks decided to build fences for protection.

Then around February 20, the army attacked Saint Makarios Monastery of Alexandria located about 62 miles from Cairo. The article states that the army stormed the monastery using live ammunition. When the attack was over, more than ten monks were injured. One was shot. All of the others were beaten. The army destroyed the fence and part of the monastery. They also confiscated the monk's building materials. 

About two days later the army approached the fifth-century, Saint Bishoy Monastery in Wadi el-Natroun with five tanks, armored vehicles and a bulldozer. Saint Bishoy is about seven miles further from Cairo than the first monastery. The attack was brutal, and it lasted for about thirty minutes. By the time it was over, around eight people were wounded and four were arrested.

The military denied the attack at Saint Bishoy. They claimed that they only demolished some fences on state property. They also issued a statement claiming that they respected ". . . the freedom and chastity of places of worship of all Egyptians." However, since the monks feel vulnerable to violent attacks from escaped prisoners, Muslim fanatics and the Egyptian military, they are holding a sit-in at the monastery in protest. In addition, thousands of Copts organized a peaceful demonstration at the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo and then marched toward the famous Tahrir Square of the revolution.

I cannot begin to understand the frustration and desperation that these poor Christians must feel. The very persons who are supposed to protect them, arrest them, beat them and kill them. Could anyone feel less valued and more unwanted in this life, besides our Lord himself? Are they simply to die because they are hated for existing? What alternatives do they have? It is for reasons like this that men go to war. But the Copts do not go to war, they hold sit-ins and demonstrations. They must truly be the suffering souls of the world-wide Church.

The evil being perpetrated upon the Copts reminds us that governments have incredible power over their citizens. It is too much power to be in the hands of extremists or the self-serving or the arrogant. Such people have ruled humankind for too long. Governments are not to exploit, manipulate, degrade, or kill their citizens. The proper function of government is to support, serve and protect its citizens. When governments oppress their citizens through deceit or force, they relinquish their moral authority, and they are no longer legitimate.

Paragraph 1903 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states it this way: "Authority is exercised legitimately only when it seeks the common good of the group concerned and if it employs morally licit means to attain it. If rulers were to enact unjust laws or take measures contrary to the moral order, such arrangements would not be binding in conscience. In such a case, 'authority breaks down completely and results in shameful abuse.'"

While most of us are not able to directly help our brothers and sisters suffering persecution in Egypt and other parts of the world, we can pray for their safety and that the revolution will bring authentic human freedom to all of the people. But this is not all we can do. As Christians, we understand freedom and sacrifice better than most. Thus, when we witness the tragedy of the Copts, we should recall that we have something of great value to offer the world. One way we can offer our wisdom to the world is by standing up to injustice and oppression whenever we encounter it in our own lives. Perhaps in this way, we can help to encourage the kind of truly human change that Egyptian Muslims and Copts hoped for when they stood together in Tahrir Square.

-----

Michael Terheyden was born into a Catholic family, but that is not why he is a Catholic. He is a Catholic because he believes that truth is real, that it is beautiful and good, and that the fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church. However, he knows that God's grace operating throughout his life is the main reason he is a Catholic. He is greatly blessed to share his faith and his life with his beautiful wife, Dorothy. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.

-----

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Middle East

ISIS releases horrific execution video setting hanging prisoners on fire (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT)

Image of

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New ISIS propaganda reveals the psychological torture and death of four Iraqi Shia prisoners accused of fighting the terrorist group. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The video begins with the four prisoners dressed in orange jumpsuits introducing themselves to the ... continue reading


Digital knights fight back at ISIS with 3D images Watch

Image of ISIS continuous to destroy historical sites and artifacts in Iraq and Syria.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A team of high-tech "monuments men" are determined to stop ISIS from destroying ancient sites in the Middle East. 3D printing technology is being harnessed to reconstruct destroyed antiquities in the area. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - "Monuments ... continue reading


Iran throws a tantrum, threatens USA, Obama The Weak seeks to appease them Watch

Image of Iran has said it will oppose the USA with all its might, and it has the ability to create havoc in the Middle East. Perhaps we should take their threats at face value, and put the nation's leadership into check?

By David Drudge, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Iran wants two things from the United States. The first is a treaty, the second is our destruction. Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei explained this in a speech on Aug. 17 which has now been published online.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Joint ... continue reading


Has ISIS found a new horrific way to kill prisoners? Terrorists release movie poster hinting at different method Watch

Image of Jihadist militants often behead their captives.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An ominous warning from ISIS revealed a possible "new killing style" to be carried out by the group during their captive's execution. A recent video featured prisoners surrounded by militants on horseback. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - A new way of ... continue reading


Syrian toddler found alive under rubble of bombed home Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil

After the airstrike on a residential area located in Douma, near Damascus, a little Syrian girl was trapped under the rubbles of her former home. She was among the lucky ones after her whole family was feared dead of the attack by the Syrian army supposedly to kill the ... continue reading


Young boys brutalized, brainwashed by Islamic State to turn them into boy soldiers Watch

Image of While they are notorious for their mistreatment of women and young girls, not as well known is ISIS' monstrous treatment of boys and young men, who they forcibly recruit to serve as soldiers for the caliphate.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State is notorious for their mistreatment of young girls, who are routinely beaten into subjugation in order to become sexual slaves. Not as well known is ISIS' monstrous treatment of boys and young men, who they forcibly recruit to serve as soldiers for ... continue reading


ISIS continues its barbaric treatment for homosexuals and adulterers, releases new footage of gruesome killings (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT) Watch

Image of ISIS crushes the skull of a man accused of having an affair.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Several new online photos feature hooded ISIS fighters in the act of stoning and throwing members of the LGBT community from a roof. LGBT groups in the territories held by ISIS experience barbaric treatment from the Jihadist group. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES ... continue reading


ISIS mercilessly blows up 2,000-year-old temple in Palmyra Watch

Image of The once beautiful Baalshamin temple is now converted to rubble due to a recent ISIS bombing.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Plumes of smoke rose from the ancient temple of Baalshamin after ISIS militants deliberately bombarded the 2,000-year-old temple. The Jihadist group claims they will continue to destroy the rest of ancient Palmyra. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - ISIS ... continue reading


WHAT'S NEXT? Three-year-old boy filmed joyfully BEHEADING teddy bear with six-inch knife (Warning: Graphic Video) Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

ISIS continues to recruit young boys to become a cub of the caliphate. The terror group has reached a new low in the latest published video showing a three-year-old boy joyfully beheading a teddy bear. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The knife-wielding boy and ... continue reading


A look inside the horrific trauma Afghan children face from thousands of landmines scattered across the country (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of A young boy struck by a sitting mine.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Shocking photographs have revealed the haunting legacy that decades of war that has left behind. Millions of landmines in schools and fields kill and damage dozens of children every day. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to estimates, up to a ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:1, 3, 4-5, 11-12, 13
1 Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 31st, 2015 Image

St. Raymond Nonnatus
August 31: Raymond was born at Portella, Catalonia, Spain. He was delivered ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter