Egypt Independent

Church source: Church seeking unified personal status law to avoid conflict



The Coptic Orthodox Church is seeking to have the unified personal status law for non-Muslims passed as soon as possible, officials sources from the papal office have said.

The move is intended to prevent a possible crisis between the Church and the judiciary and to address the problem of Copts seeking a divorce, some of whom have been staging a sit-in since last week.
 
The source said Pope Shenouda III will not bow to pressure to accept the 1938 regulations that permits nine reasons for divorce. The source also said the Pope refuses to allow a divorcee who committed adultery the right to remarry.
 
The Pope has contacted several state officials to call for issuing the personal status law prepared in 2009, which does not allow divorce except in the case of adultery.
 
Egypt's three Christian sects have embraced the law, but priests from the Evangelical Church do not recognize the signature of the head of their church, Safwat al-Bayady, and insist on the 1938 regulations which allows divorce in several cases.
 
Catholic bishops, meanwhile, reject divorce in principle, even in the case of adultery, but also say couples should only separate if one partner commits adultery.
 
Ikram Lamie, a professor of Comparative Religious at the Evangelical Theology Seminary in Cairo, warned against passing the law, saying Copts will pay the price for it when forced to convert to Islam as the only way of achieving what they want.
 
Rafeeq Greish, meanwhile, spokesperson for the Catholic Church, said Catholicism does not permit divorce even in the case of adultery.
 
Translated from the Arabic Edition