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 July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Middle East

Report: Forty Five Christian Churches and Institutions Destroyed Since ISIS Established Caliphate Watch

Image of Some reports indicate that ISIS now has roving patrols in the city of Raqqa, including women draped in head to floor burqas, who are ordered to ensure strict compliance with their version of Islamic Dress codes.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

ISIS Jihadist thugs have taken an axe to the tomb of Jonah, destroying it with a kind of gleeful and mad abandon. They ripped down the Cross from St. Ephrem's Cathedral and replaced it with their dreaded black flag.They are massacring people, severing heads, and ... continue reading


'I will not let another Holocaust happen!' Sign the petition in support of Iraqi Christians forced to flee from persecution Watch

Image of Christians in Mosul embrace one another as they are forced to leave absolutely everything behind at gunpoint.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The plight of Iraq's Christians has now lasted longer than a decade, and recent militant uprisings in Mosul threaten to expunge the neighboring Chaldean-Assyrian-Syriac villages. Iraqi Christians have fled Mosul in droves, but some remain behind, awaiting their ... continue reading


WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - Islamic Caliphate celebrates Eid with VIDEO OF MASS CHRISTIAN GENOCIDE Watch

Image of This video capture shows the moment an ISIS terrorist finishes the last man our of what appears to be hundreds systematically killed near Tikrit. Christians are next and may already be included in this number.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic Caliphate terrorists continue to produce and disseminate videos of their brutal executions. In their most recent release, they celebrate the arrival of Eid, the end of Ramadan, by rounding up and executing hundreds of young men, setting the macabre events ... continue reading


WARNING GRAPHIC, RAW PHOTOS -- ISIS on Christians: 'There is nothing to give them but the sword' Watch

Image of Soldier's heads were hoisted on poles as they were killed in Syria.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has warned Christians, possibly for the last time, saying "there is nothing to give them but the sword." Across Northern Iraq, Christians are huddled in refugee camps, trapped in the desert, or trapped in their homes, waiting for death. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Drought now hammering war-torn Syria Watch

Image of The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement warns that limited winter rain and high summer temperatures has affected agriculture and food production across the nation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On top of all the trials and tribulations facing war-torn Syria, a worsening drought there now has "dire humanitarian consequences for millions." The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement warns that limited winter rain and high summer temperatures ... continue reading


'LEAVE US ALONE!' top Israeli official says to Obama Watch

Image of Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel wants President Barack Obama to cease his interference with the Jewish state during its conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While the United States and Israel remain the staunchest of allies, top Israeli official, Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel wants President Barack Obama to cease his interference with the Jewish state during its conflict with Hamas in Gaza. "Leave us ... continue reading


Holy month of Ramadan ends with Eid Mubarak 2014 Watch

Image of Ramadan is an annual celebration held during the ninth month of the 12-month Islamic calendar, starting after the sighting of the new moon.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The holy month of Ramadan ended this year as Muslims worldwide celebrated with prayer and food during the Eid al-Fitr festival this past Monday. The end of Ramadan 2014, the Islamic holy month of fasting, lasted for three days. The event marked the anniversary ... continue reading


Christians flee as Islamic ISIS gets ready for a 'Christian Holocaust' Watch

Image of Christians are fleeing for their lives in parts of northern Iraq where Islamic militants issued an ultimatum to convert or be killed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Iraq will soon be a Christian free nation, the only vicar of the only Anglican church in that country warns. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Canon Andrew White, also known as 'the bishop of Baghdad' gave this warning after the deadline set by Islamic militants to ... continue reading


Massive underground bunkers empower Hamas in Israeli conflict Watch

Image of Other than giving Hamas tax revenue and weapons, the tunnels supply in-demand civilian goods like food and medicine, as well as infrastructure materials including concrete and fuel.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cut off from the rest of the world with three sides enforced by Israel and Egypt, coupled with shelling maintained by sea and in the air above its coastal strip, Gazans have found a way around their confinement by tunneling underground. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


BLOWN TO BITS: Video surfaces of Jonah's tomb being destroyed Watch

Image of Militants belonging to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, are said to have planted explosives around the tomb and detonated the explosion remotely.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's horrific footage, and many pray that it was faked - but knowing of the ruthlessness of the people involved, it probably wasn't. Jonah's tomb, a holy shrine in Mosul, Iraq is depicted being blown to bits. The demolition of this shrine occurred in seconds. ... 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, Jeremiah 26:1-9
1 At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:6, 8-10, 14
6 Those who hope in you must not be made fools of, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:54-58
54 and, coming to his home town, he taught the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 1st, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori
August 1: Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the ... 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