Coptic Church suspends dialogue with Catholics after “change in position” on homosexuality

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The Coptic Orthodox Church is “suspending dialogue” with the Catholic Church, following what they refer to as the Catholics' “change in position on homosexuality.”

This was announced following the Coptics' annual Holy Synod that took place in Egypt at its papal residence. 110 leaders of the church produced nine decrees and recommendations, to which the spokesman said:

Spokesman, Coptic Orthodox Church

The most prominent decision in these nine decisions is to suspend the theological dialogue with the Catholic Church after their change in position regarding the issue of homosexuality.

The statement released on the Synod went on to say that the Coptic Church will:

…reevaluate the results achieved by the dialogue (with the Catholic Church) from its beginning twenty years ago, and establish new standards and mechanisms for the dialogue to proceed in the future.

It also reiterated the Coptic position on homosexuality, saying:

(The Church rejects) all forms of homosexual relationships…and considers any blessings of such relations…to be a blessing for sin.

The Coptic Orthodox Church is home to about 30 million Christians and is currently led by Pope Tawadros II, who has met with Pope Francis on multiple occasions. Less than a year ago, the Coptic leader even shared the stage with Pope Francis during a General Audience.

His Holiness Tawadros came to see me for the first time on May 10, ten years ago, a few months after his and my election and he proposed to celebrate every May 10 Coptic-Catholic Friendship Day, which we have been celebrating every year since that time. We call each other on the phone and send greetings and have remained dear brothers. We have not argued.

This decision of the Coptic Orthodox Church to suspend dialogue with Catholics comes in response to a declaration signed by Pope Francis titled “Fiducia supplicans.” This declaration allows for the pastoral blessings of couples in same-sex relationships. But it does not change any Church doctrine and reaffirms the Catholic teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Following this recent annoucement, it is not yet clear what the relationship between the Catholic and the Coptic Orthodox churches will look like. The Vatican has not yet commented on this decision.


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