Egypt's Christians may find hope in new pope

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Egypt's Christians may find hope in new pope

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One of the challenges facing the new pope and the Catholic Church is how best to help and bring comfort to Christians who feel persecuted in North Africa and the Middle East.

Many Christians living in Egypt worry about their future under a Muslim Brotherhood president.

However, an Egyptian Muslim living in Cairo described a peaceful coexistence.

“Christians have been my neighbours for 65 years. If you look at my phone, most of my friends are Christians. If my Christian friend has a problem, I’d never leave him alone and he feels the same about me,” he said.

What do the roughly 10 percent of Egypt’s roughly 82.5 million people that are Christians want from a new pope?

“We hope that the new pope will take care of the Christians in the East and care about their suffering. I hope he will unite all Church denominations under his leadership – Egypt, Greek Christians and the rest,” said one Christian man in Cairo.

President Mohamed Morsi has been accused of not defending Egypt’s Christians from a rising number of attacks.

Now it’s time for the Church to play a role, according to Italian archbishop Salvatore Rino Fisichella.

“Religions can not exist in perpetual violence. We have to assume our important responsibilities regarding Christians, so that people won’t be persecuted like martyrs, or exposed to new forms of persecutions, I such as derision, marginalisation or discrimination,” said Fisichella.