As Coptic youth we are not eligible to vote in the upcoming Papal Election for the 118th Pope of Alexandria. This is due to the standing bylaws of the papal election process that were established in 1957. In summary, the current model for the papal election does not adhere to the popular vote but rather a vote of the Coptic Church represented by its elders from each diocese. While I am not in complete agreement with this model, I will table that discussion for another time.
These circumstances remind me of a time in my life that I was not yet able to participate in governmental elections. At that time my school hosted a mock election for the purpose of: participation in future civic duty, awareness of the issues and candidates, and to predict the outcome of the election. In a similar fashion, a mock papal election will allow us to: have a participative role where we have none, it will allow us to become acquainted with the 5 candidates (of whom which one will become our next Pope), it may be influential for qualified voters, and finally will also shed light on the opinion of the youth.
The voting philosophy of the Coptic voter must be different in a papal election verses all other elections. This philosophy is also built into the current model for the papal election. Having reached the voting stage of the papal election, the voter is presented with a ballot of the names that have passed through nomination verification and cleared the objection stage. Therefore, the voter is presented with the “best of the best” of the nominees to become pope. The voter is asked to strike out the names of those whom he/she favors least for the papacy. The voter may strike out 2 or 3 or 4 names. Striking only 1 name or 5 names invalidates the ballot. Therefore, the thinking of the voter should not be, “I will vote for _____…” but rather consider who is least qualified to be pope. The candidates who receive the top three numbers of votes are put forward to the altar lot where we put the choice in God’s capable hands. The Coptic Church carries out this Altar Lot with trust because the top three names, having received the greatest number of votes, are in “human” opinion the best candidates. It is then at that point, having done all that can be humanly done and having completed our part we turn to God for his divine choice.
I ask that anyone who participates below in this mock papal election take this seriously and meet the following criteria:
- Be in agreement and abide with the above mentioned voting philosophy.
- Be adequately acquainted with the candidates. (More information on the candidates is available in older blog posts.)
- Vote no more than once.
- Formulate and vote with your own personal opinion.
- Participate in and prayerful manner for this mock election and also pray for the official papal election and for the Coptic Church.
May God appoint for us a Pope, according to His choosing, to shepherd His people in purity and righteousness. Amen.
Voting Times: Monday, October 22, 2012 @ 9:00 AM EST – Sunday, October 28, 2012 @ 9PM EST
Due to technical limitations, please vote for the 1, 2, or 3 candidates best qualified.
Please select the most qualified candidates for the papacy. (1-3 Votes Allowed)
- H.G. Bishop Rafael (32%, 145 Votes)
- Hegomen Fr. Seraphim El-Soriani (23%, 102 Votes)
- Hegomen Fr. Rafael Ava Mina (19%, 87 Votes)
- H.G. Bishop Tawadros (16%, 74 Votes)
- Hegomen Fr. Pachomious El-Soriani (9%, 41 Votes)
Total Voters: 196