"We only abide by the Bible," Pope Shenouda III told Egyptian media. He added that the court ruling had only "civil, not religious" authority, reported Catholic World News (CWN) agency.

He spoke as a senior judge appealed a February court ruling that 12 converts to Islam who “reconverted” to Christianity, can have their Christian faith officially recognized.
The country’s top court ruled that Christians who become Muslims to exploit Islamic laws allowing easy divorce, may return to their original faith. 

The Coptic Orthodox Church does not recognize divorce, although it does provide for the annulment of marriages in case of adultery. Copts who obtain a civil divorce are not allowed to remarry in the church.


Pope Shenouda made clear however that Coptic leaders would not look with favor on those who used the legal loophole, CWN reported.

Several authorities have also objected to the practice. At least 12 Christians have so far reportedly been blocked from obtaining documents listing their change of religion, despite the recent court ruling in their favor.

Government officials reportedly refused to give one of the 12 a card that recognizes his Christian faith by claiming that their computerized system could only enter one word in the religion section.

The February court ruling stated however that he and the 11 other believers could obtain cards that stated: "Christian, previously proclaimed Islam as his/her religion." Copts constitute about 10 percent of Egypt’s population, according to church estimates.


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