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Monday, March 04, 2013

Coptic Patriarch to attend Conclave after all, despite illness

The emeritus Coptic Catholic Patriarch Cardinal Antonios Naguib (77) wants, despite ailing health, to travel to Rome for the conclave. His has changed his original intention of not attending. It was the "first duty of a cardinal to participate in the election of the Successor of Peter," said the former patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Christians to the Vatican Press Office "Fides".

Because of his impairment, Naguib is allowed, according to his own information, an assistant to help him at the severely restricted conclave. This should help him to make the daily commute from the Vatican guesthouse Santa Marta to the Sistine Chapel, which hosts the voting. The accompaniment of a helper must be specifically approved according to the strict Papal electoral rules.

Naguib was since March 2006 at the top of the small Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt. After suffering a stroke on 31 December, he resigned from Church leadership. Benedict XVI called him in November 2010 into the College of Cardinals.

Besides Naguib, the other leaders of Eastern Catholic Churches participating are incumbent Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai (72) from Lebanon and the Syro-Malabar Major Archbishop George Alencherry (67) and the Syro-Malankara Major Archbishop Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal (53) from India.

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