CAIRO -- A blindfolded 6-year-old reached into a glass bowl on Sunday
to pick the first new Coptic pope in more than 40 years, a patriarch
who promises a new era of integration for Egypt's Christian minority as
it grapples with a wave of sectarian violence, new Islamist domination
of politics, and internal pressures for reform.
Speaking to the
television cameras that surrounded him at his monastery in a desert
town, the pope-designate, Bishop Tawadros, indicated that he planned to
reverse the explicitly political role of his predecessor, Pope Shenouda
III, who died in March. For four decades, Shenouda acted as the Copts'
chief representative in public life, won special favors for his flock by
publicly endorsing President Hosni Mubarak, and last year urged in vain
that Copts stay away from the protests that ultimately toppled the
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