Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Terheyden

3/4/2011 (3 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 (3 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'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Middle East

Terrorist group Khorasan feared to be bigger threat to U.S. than Islamic State Watch

Image of Officials say that Khorasan is a cell in Syria led by 33-year-old Muhsin al-Fadhli, a senior al- Qaeda operative.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United States along with a few of its allies are now taking direct military action against Islamic State, which currently controls wide swaths of Iraq and Syria. Some analysts now warn that a little-known terrorist group, called Khorasan is far more likely ... continue reading


Is it war? U.N. general assembly to meet on Islamic State Watch

Image of The U.N. Security Council will meet to discuss whether or not to adopt a resolution by President Obama which will ban and punish foreign fighters who travel abroad to commit terrorist acts.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama will urge the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution that would ban individuals from flying if they are attempting to become jihadists, and impose sanctions on countries that fail to seriously treat the growing problem of ... continue reading


Is this man an American? Chilling Islamic State executioner appears on slick 'Flames of War' execution video Watch

Image of This masked terrorists speaks English with an American accent. Investigators are working to determine his identity.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

American intelligence officials are alarmed by the appearance of an Islamic State jihadist who apparently speaks perfect English with an American accent. The video underscores concern that Americans could be participating in atrocities under the banner of the Islamic ... continue reading


War against ISIS widens! Turkish and Syrian Kurds band together to fight terrorist group Watch

Image of Kurds in Turkey, Iraq and Syria continue to fight the Islamic State, providing one of the most effective military forces against the terrorist group.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Kurdish fighters in Turkey have issued a call to arms to defend a border town in northern Syria from advancing forces from the Islamic State, while Turkish authorities and the United Nations prepare for a surge in refugees from the fighting. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


A HEINOUS NEW LOW: Syrian rebels sabotage vaccinations, killing 50 babies Watch

Image of Physicians for Human Rights, a New York-based group that works in rebel-held areas of northwest Syria, sent an internal e-mail saying that up to 50 children may have died from the vaccine.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As proof of their bravery, rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are suspected of sabotaging a batch of measles vaccinations, leading to the deaths of up to 50 young children. If true, it's a new low in an especially discouraging chapter of ... continue reading


Casualty of war; Syrian children fall behind in studies Watch

Image of Even if they should survive and thrive after the civil war in their nation of Syria ends, millions of school children, deprived of an education during the conflict, will be a generation of ill-prepared citizens.

By Katie Nguyen, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The 3-1/2-year-old conflict in Syria is preventing 2.8 million children from getting an education and has destroyed or damaged more than 3,400 schools, an international children's charity said on Thursday. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The 3-1/2-year-old conflict ... continue reading


'Lend Me Your Ears' Hostage reporter appears in Islamic State sham news report Watch

Image of reporter and hostage, John Cantile appeared in a video made by the Islamic State.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has released another video, perhaps attempting to persuade Americans and British forces from attacking them. This time, instead of beheading a journalist they have created what appears to be their own version of a crude news segment. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Half of Iraqi army incapable of fighting against ISIL, top U.S. general declares Watch

Image of According to General Martin Dempsey, the solution must begin with formation of an Iraqi government that is able to convince the country's Kurdish and Sunni populations that they will be equal partners with the Shiites in Iraq's future.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, the U.S. military's top officer gave his assessment of Iraq's military capability in deterring the Islamic State. Dempsey says that almost half of Iraq's army is incapable of working against ISIL. ... continue reading


Stone structure in northern Israel was to worship moon god, scholar says Watch

Image of The vast structure, which is 150 meters long with a volume of 14,000 cubic meters, is thought to have taken more than five months to build.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the shape of the crescent moon in northern Israel, a 5,000-year-old stone structure is now being declared as an ancient monument. Predating much of the construction of Stonehenge in England and Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the structure according to one ... continue reading


A plea from Christian churches around the world: Stop the genocide in Iraq and Syria Watch

Image of Fighters from the Islamic State have been systematically waging a war of terror on Christians and other religious minorities in regions under their control in Iraq and Syria.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christian leaders throughout the Middle East have called on Muslim governments and religious authorities to condemn the Islamic State for its ongoing persecution of minority religious communities in Iraq and Syria. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The leaders ... 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, Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13
1 Like flowing water is a king's heart in Yahweh's ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:1, 27, 30, 34, 35, 44
1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:19-21
19 His mother and his brothers came looking for him, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 23rd, 2014 Image

St. Padre Pio
September 23: Francesco, named in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, was born to ... 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