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 August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Middle East

ISIS terrorists back down before elderly Christians who mock them and refuse to convert! Watch

Image of One of the eleven elderly Iraqi Christians who refused to convert to Islam, even after threats of beheading, now safe inside a refugee camp in Kurdish controlled territory.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Eleven sick and disabled, elderly Iraqi Christians said they preferred death to giving up their faith, defying militants from the Islamic State who demanded that they convert to Islam or be beheaded. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The show of Christian ... continue reading


A beheading video so gruesome you won't be able to watch it. (WARNING, GRAPHIC RAW FOOTAGE)

Image of A victim struggles against his killers, but the effort is useless.Today Syria and Iraq, tomorrow the world?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State in Syria has filmed a beheading video so gruesome that you won't likely be able to watch the entire thing. The video shows an alleged Islamic State execution that took place on August 14. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - If you click the link ... continue reading


Israeli airstrike kills three Hamas commanders, Palestinians vow revenge Watch

Image of An Israeli military airstrikes killed three top Hamas commanders, part of a new strategy by Israel after Egyptian managed peace talks failed on August 19.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Israeli airstrikes killed three senior Hamas commanders in the Gaza Strip and announced that they would continue to target the terrorist group's leadership after the ceasefire between the two failed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The men were identified by ... continue reading


Kurds promise to protect Christians 'until the last drop of blood!' Watch

Image of Iraqi Kurdish fighters have been engaged in fighting with the Islamic State since the beginning of this month. During a meeting with heads of the Catholic Church, Kurdish officials swore to protect Christians in Kurdistan.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A delegation of senior members of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches visited Irbil, Iraq, in order to show their support and solidarity with the more than 100,000 Christians and minorities who have been displaced due to the ongoing conquests of the Islamic State. ... continue reading


TERROR JOINS FORCES: Yemeni al-Qaeda ends solidarity to IS in Iraq Watch

Image of A screenshot from an AQAP propaganda video apparently shows the Yemen-based terrorist group's leader, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, addressing fighters.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Evil minds think alike, as two of the world's most deadly terrorist organizations have apparently joined forces in the tumult facing Iraq. The Yemen branch of al-Qaeda has given a "shout out" to Islamic State, who have been busy waging their war of terror in ... continue reading


Why do Muslims like beheading so much? (WARNING GRAPHIC, RAW IMAGES)

Image of Muslim terrorists prefer beheading as the latest way to grab headlines. Here, a terrorist prepared to saw off the head of American journalist, James Foley.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The incredible spate of beheadings which are perpetrated by Islamic militants around the world had many asking the question, "Why do Muslims behead so many people?" In the modern age, there are swift and almost bloodless ways to kill, which makes the use of beheading ... continue reading


Islamic State beheads journalist James Foley (WARNING, GRAPHIC VIDEO)

Image of James Foley a moment before his gruesome beheading.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has beheaded journalist James Foley. You may watch the video here, but be warned, it is graphic. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - American freelance journalist James Foley has been beheaded by the Islamic State. He was 40. Following a statement ... continue reading


How far will they go? Islamic State kills an entire village because one man refused... Watch

Image of A Yazidi woman cries in a refugee camp where most of her surviving people now live.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A story has emerged about how the Islamic State killed as many as 600 people because of the defiance of just one elderly man.  The tale shows how far the Islamic State will go to force its beliefs on the rest of the world. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Last ... continue reading


WARNING TO WEST: Archeparch of Mosul says Western Christians will soon fall prey to persecution Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The exiled Chaldean Archeparch of Mosul, Amel Nona has some stern words of warning to those in the West, who think that the persecutions of Iraq "can't happen" where they are. "Our sufferings are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will ... continue reading


Wedding rings cut off fingers, bibles burned. Chaldean Catholics Remain Faithful

Image of Chaldean Catholics have lost everything, including their religious artifacts.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you have followed the horrifying stories of Christians in Iraq, you know that these peaceful people have been deprived of literally everything. They have not simply lost businesses, homes and cars, but also their money, their personal effects, literally everything ... 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, Ezekiel 43:1-7
1 He took me to the gate, the one facing ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
9 His saving help is near for those who fear him, his ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 23:1-12
1 Then addressing the crowds and his disciples Jesus ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 23rd, 2014 Image

St. Philip Benizi
August 23: Servite cardinal and preacher. Born in Florence, Italy, to a ... 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