I was shocked to receive news about the decision of Father Paula Foad, priest of St. George Coptic Orthodox Church in Al-Mataria to run for the elections of the House of Representatives. I see this as a catastrophe that threatens all our efforts to establish a modern secular democratic state, and also threatens the image of the national church and prove its involvement in politics.
This clumsy act of this priest represents a stab at the Egyptian secular trend, which demands the exit of official and unofficial Muslim clerics from the Egyptian political scene. Now, we have to struggle on two fronts instead of one. He also gave the sheikhs a weapon to fight the secular current by saying that a priest ran for elections, which is a direct and explicit political act, so do not blame the sheikhs. This clumsy act will not only be borne by his subordinates, but the church will also bear his responsibility, because this is a citizen who follows the Orthodox priesthood, and therefore he cannot do this act without the permission of the church, and even if he does this reckless act without the permission of the church, what is the Church s response?
I am surprised how there is no ecclesiastical law that prevents men of the priesthood from engaging in politics as the Catholic Church does, as its law prohibits the practice of politics, and whoever wishes to do so must resign and take off his priestly uniform, so how is there no such law in the Orthodox Church?
Such act will not only have negative effects on the secular current, but also on the church, because this priest will inevitably lose, because he will not get the votes of Muslims or the voices of true secular Christians, unless he is supported by other influencers in the elections.
The Coptic Church now will be exposed to all kinds of criticism like Al-Azhar, since you have fallen into the mud of politics and proved you belong to the Authority. It is not too late yet, and you can announce the church’s rejection of this candidacy and make this priest choose between the priesthood and Parliament openly and explicitly.