Pope Brings Hope to Egypt

Egyptians of all faiths are pleased by Pope Francis’ visit and his message.

The Pope surveys the Nile during his trip to Egypt April 29.
The Pope surveys the Nile during his trip to Egypt April 29. (photo: L'Osservatore Romano)

CAIRO — Egyptians of all faiths are pleased by Pope Francis’ visit and his message — one that filled them with hope for the future, they said.

Muslim woman Samia Zien Elbeden, whose husband was killed just six months ago, told EWTN April 29 that after the tragic loss of her husband, the Pope’s visit “brings me peace and gives me hope.”

“I am a woman whose husband has been taken away. I am alone. We had no children,” Elbeden said. “My husband was everything. He had a high position in the Egyptian army, one of only 12 at that level.”

She said she “was happy with what the Pope said” when he gave a speech at Al-Azhar University for the International Conference on Peace.

Jesuit Father Morat, who lives in Cairo but is originally from Syria, also said he was pleased by the Pope’s words the first day of his trip.

“It was a great message of peace, for our hearts first,” he noted. “The Egyptian people seem happy with it, too. We need hope, we believe in this hope, brought by Pope Francis.”   

Father Morat also said he hopes the Pope’s visit “will bring peace to this country.”

“Pope Francis is a man of peace, and his manner of talking and acting shows that he feels what’s happening in the Middle East will bring something new, a new spirit. I hope for this.”

A Muslim political consultant to the majority party in the Egyptian parliament, Marouan Younis, said that everyone was very happy to have Pope Francis in Cairo and hope that his presence will boost their own efforts to combat terrorism and promote peace in the country.

“We are sending a message of peace around the world, and now he is joining us in this message.”

He explained, “We are really fighting terrorism, a clear fight. We have many problems in our region, but we think, we hope, and we pray that we succeed in building a new country.”

“The Pope’s speeches have been fantastic, very clear. He has been very friendly, just brings hope and love to everybody.”

“In Egypt, we’re really fighting ISIS hard,” he continued. “It’s very tough, and we’re having many problems in this fight because it’s a battle fought with arms, ideas, religion. It’s a heavy fight, because ISIS knows that if Egypt falls, the whole region will fall.”

He highlighted that although a Muslim himself, he has dear friends who are Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox, and they are all happy with the Vatican and Pope Francis.

“The only ones unhappy are ISIS and the fanatics,” he said. Speaking about Cairo’s Air Defense Stadium, where Pope Francis celebrated Mass, he said, “Here in the stadium, there are Muslims, Protestants, everybody.”

“Yesterday in the prayer meeting, we found the three big religious leaders were sitting on the same stage, just praying along with the Vatican, the Pope. I’m very happy with what’s going on.”

Amani, an Egyptian TV presenter, said she thinks it’s a “very critical time” for Egypt, “so it’s especially important that Pope Francis has come here.” She applauded seeing all Egyptians, including both Christians and Muslims, joining together for his visit.

Amani also said that “we have to specify what terrorism is.”

It’s time, around the world, to draw the line on what is good and nonviolent as part of a religion and what is not, she said.

See photos and more first-person insights into the Egypt trip from Register Rome correspondent Edward Pentin, who was on the ground in Cairo, here.

Pope Francis attends the awarding of the Ratzinger Prize at the Vatican on Dec. 6.

The Latest in Vatican News (Dec. 10)

As pilgrims make their way to Rome for Advent and the Christmas season, important Vatican news continues, including the crisis of the German Synodal Path, the Synod on Synodality and the on-going trial of Cardinal Angelo Becciu. This week on Register Radio, we are joined by the Register’s Rome correspondent, Edward Pentin, with the latest on these stories and more.