Did you Know a Child Helps Select the next Coptic Pope?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is no quorum for the election, and once the votes have been counted the names of the three top candidates will be announced. The Sunday following the elections, a procedure will be held at St Mark's Church in Cairo to choose the next pope from among the three top candidates. Their names will be placed on the altar, and after mass a blindfolded child will pick one of the names. The name of the person picked will become the next pope of the Coptic Church.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildren* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

Posted March 24, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Br. Michael wrote:

Similar to the Amish.  They pick several qualified candidates for minister and/or bishop and have each of them select a hymnal.  In one of the hymnals is a slip of paper.  The one who gets the slip is selected.

I think its better than the way we do it.

March 24, 7:31 am | [comment link]
2. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

I agree.

I see no reason why one could not simply have a neutral party draw a name at random from among those consenting and qualified. Then the choice of bishop would owe nothing to the vagaries of Man and everything to the Holy Spirit.

Of course, it would give some of us less interesting material about which to write. smile

March 24, 10:20 am | [comment link]
3. Terry Tee wrote:

There is precedent in the selection of Matthias as an apostle, is there not?

March 24, 12:49 pm | [comment link]
4. Br. Michael wrote:


March 24, 3:13 pm | [comment link]
5. Sarah wrote:

I’m afraid it just moves all the politicking and maneuvering “one step nearer.” 

All it means is that the manipulation and voting all has to do with *which three candidates end up on the altar* for selection.  And of course, if you’re candidates are rotten, then you’re doomed. 

I’m reminded of a parish I know which—rather proudly—decided they would cast lots on their choice of rectors when it came to the last three and “depend on the Holy Spirit.”

They did—and she was an absolutely dreadful rector; the parish radically declined.

March 24, 8:28 pm | [comment link]
6. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

Wouldn’t that be an argument for including everyone in the lottery who met minimal criteria of age and experience and wished to be included? Then there need be no manipulation and voting because the parish/convention would have no “say” as such. In the example you cite, presumably the Holy Spirit did his best with the materials to hand and the alternatives would have been even worse.

It reminds me of Jim Hacker’s inquiry in that immortal Yes Prime Minister episode: “Can’t we let the Holy Ghost decide now?” “Well, Prime Minister, we feel that the Holy Ghost might not fully appreciate what makes a good Church of England Bishop.”

March 24, 8:43 pm | [comment link]
7. Sarah wrote:

RE: “Wouldn’t that be an argument for including everyone in the lottery who met minimal criteria of age and experience and wished to be included?”

At that point the politics and manipulation moves even closer—with the stacking of all the “eligibles.”

March 24, 11:48 pm | [comment link]
8. Br. Michael wrote:

Well, maybe, just maybe you should decide on the qualifications in advance?  We do have lists and examples of what are acceptable qualities in the NT and we have the example of Matthaeus. 

No one said anything about “minimal criteria of age and experience and wished to be included?”  Surely the biblical criteria are higher than this?

I see no reason why the final election and politicking can’t be skipped and the final selection be made by the Holy Spirit.

March 25, 9:08 am | [comment link]
9. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

Agreed, my suggestion of “experience” wasn’t intended to exclude biblical criteria.

March 25, 9:15 am | [comment link]
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