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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Editorial: The Church has no role in politics ]

Editorial: The Church has no role in politics

IT MAY seem ungracious to begrudge Ioannis Kasoulides the support of the Archbishop. With every last vote up for grabs, and with AKEL, DIKO and EDEK, shamelessly recomposing their alliance in a sordid game of musical chairs, here at least was an endorsement that bucked the seemingly irreversible trend towards Demetris Christofias.

The Archbishop’s support for the right-wing candidate was unequivocal: “We have already agreed the framework within which we will move on education, and, without reservation, as the Church we advise our people to vote en masse for Mr Kasoulides and we are sure of the co-operation we will have in the new five-year term,” said the archbishop.

Kasoulides, he continued, “agrees with the wishes of the Church to have a say in education issues because if we lose our children who represent the hope of the future of this place, then nothing can save us.”

Every vote may count, but is this really the new, modern, European Cyprus that Kasoulides has been promising us all this time, blessed by the Church and draped in flags? With its emphasis on faith and fatherland, this is a message more reminiscent of a bygone age than 21st century Europe.

And how happy is DISY with the endorsement of the Archbishop, a man who a week ago was attracting their wrath with his outspoken support for Tassos Papadopoulos? Then they were telling the Church to keep out of politics, now they are laying out the red carpet for their continued meddling.

Not that AKEL are any better: there was no squeak of protestation about Church and State when then Bishop Chrysostomos campaigned against the Annan plan. Nor was there any concern about the separation of religion and politics when Christofias gave AKEL’s overwhelming support to Bishop Nikiforos of Kykkos in the elections for a new archbishop – grotesque as it may sound to have a Communist Party taking sides in internal Church affairs.

And it’s safe to assume that Nikoforos – that most political of bishops – would have returned the favour had he been elected… instead of which he is now waxing spiritual about the Church’s mission to “watch over God’s people […] aiming for the spiritual rebirth and salvation of man”.

If at least we could have hoped that AKEL would end the Church’s archaic influence over public education, it would have been a point in Christofias’ favour. But no, he had to insist this was a scurrilous rumour spread by his political opponents.

We are in 2008, we have two candidates, one claiming to be a Communist, the other a modern technocratic European: you could have hoped the Church’s time in politics was up. But that would be to think there was any principle in this desperate scramble for votes. Not likely.


(Source: Cyprus Mail)



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