New Religious Leaders in Egypt, England

Two Christian bodies have selected new key leaders. Last week, Egyptian Coptic Christians chose their new pope, Bishop Tawadros Theodorus II. Pope Tawadros II now leads a flock in a country recently emerging from revolution and in the midst of the development of a new constitution by an Islamist-led Assembly.  In an interview with Reuters, the new pope said Egypt’s diversity should be recognized in the new constitution: “If a good constitution is presented in which every person finds himself (represented), there is no doubt Egypt will develop…. But if the constitution addresses one part of the community and ignores another it will take society backwards.”

In addition, the British government today announced the selection of a new Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England and of the international Anglican Communion. Justin Welby, a former oil company executive before beginning his church ministry in 1992, will be the new earthly head of the 77 million Anglicans worldwide. The New York Times asserts that Welby “is regarded as an evangelical conservative in opposing same-sex marriage but favoring the elevation of women to senior church positions.” He replaces retiring Archbishop Rowan Williams, who reportedly declared the next archbishop would need “the hide of a rhinoceros and the constitution of an ox.”

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations

Published: November 9, 2012