S+L logo

Perspectives Daily - Local Egyptian Leaders See Pope's Visit As a Big Ecumenical Win

Noel Ocol

May 2, 2017
So it seems, The Pope’s historic, 72-hour visit to Cairo last weekend has left a profound mark on Egyptians. And according to local Catholic leaders, and they anticipate increased ties with fellow Orthodox Christians and Muslims as a result of it.
Father Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian bishops told CNS that The Pope's visit was a big blessing to the Egyptians, both Muslims and Christians and it boosted the morale of the Egyptian people, especially after the recent Palm Sunday bombings.
The Pope's visit for Catholics in Egypt was a great happening, very positive," said Jesuit Father Samir Khalil Samir, a noted Egyptian Catholic theologian and Islamic studies scholar.
Even more important, he said, was the historic improvement in ecumenical ties between the Catholic and the Coptic Orthodox churches. In Egypt, there are a lot of mixed marriages between Catholics and Orthodox," Father Samir explained. Previous Coptic Orthodox required that new members joining the church -- including those who had previously been baptized as Catholic -- had to be baptized again. And now that both churches agreed to recognize each other's sacrament of baptism, and pledged to continue to work together, a greater unity can occur. "Ecumenical relations with the Coptic Orthodox Church made very good steps and can go further," Father Samir predicted, citing a possible reconciliation over the celebration dates of Christmas and Easter in the near future.
And now with the trip to Egypt in the rear-view mirror, and the Pope preparing for his pilgrimage to Fatima in two weeks, the Vatican Press office released details of yet another, trip that the Pope plans to make to the northern Italian region of Bozzolo.
In June, the Pope is planning a pilgrimage to visit the graves of two 20th century Italian priests, Fr. Lorenzo Milani and Fr. Primo Mazzo-lari in the towns of Bozzolo and Barbiana.
Both priests had reputations for being anti-establishment, though they were obedient to the Church throughout their lives. The Pope will visit to their graves but it will be in a private manner, the Vatican statement said.
And as usual, we’ll broadcast on the network some of the events of this visit so be sure to check our schedule for details and times closer to the date.
Here in Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins issued a statement in support of Catholic Education Week which runs from April 30th to May 5th. This year the Theme is: Walking Forward Together. Let’s have a look
And you can read more about this campaign and look at the resources available at the Ontario Catholic School Trustee’s Association website listed below.
And speaking of Catholic Education, A judge in the province of Saskatchewan has ruled that the provincial government must stop subsidizing Catholic Schools for non-Catholic students to attend attend catholic schools in that province.
This judgement is a result of a court case initiated in 2005 when the Good Spirit Public School Board launched legal action against the Christ the Teacher Catholic School board.
The Good Spirit public board was forced closed its school in the rural community of Theodore due to declining enrollments. The Catholics families in the area successfully petitioned the government to form a new Catholic school division in the town and purchased the closed public school and renamed it St. Theodore.
When the Catholic school opened, it accepted local non-Catholic students that made up more than 60 percent of the student population.
In the judgement, Justice Donald Layh wrote that funding "non-minority faith students" in Catholic schools violates the Charter of Rights and "the state's duty of religious neutrality." He has given the province until June 30, 2018, to end the practice.
Now, it’s unknown exactly how many non-Catholic students attend Catholic schools. Estimates say that up to one-third of the students in some Catholic school divisions are not Catholic. If the government is forced to end funding for non-Catholics students in Catholic schools, the result could be teacher layoffs and Catholic school closures and overcrowding in some public schools.
And that's it for Perspectives today. Join us again tomorrow when we bring you more news and stories through the Perspectives of a Catholic lens.