Catholic faithful asked: Pray for Pope Benedict XVI-A A +A
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
MANILA (Updated) -- Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle called on the Catholic faithful Tuesday to pray for Pope Benedict XVI, who announced Monday that he is resigning from his post on February 28.
The Filipino cardinal was among the many church officials who were surprised Monday at Benedict’s decision. The German-born pope said during a meeting of Vatican cardinals Monday that he lacks the strength to fulfill his duties, thus the resignation.
In a statement released by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM) on Tuesday, Tagle said that just like others, he too was clueless that a change is forthcoming in the leadership of the Church.
"Pope Benedict XVI's renunciation of the ministry as Bishop of Rome on February 11, 2013 came as a surprise," said Tagle.
He said he immediately felt sad that of the decision knowing "selfless guidance" the Pope had shown in the past eight years.
"The announcement also brought sadness to us. We felt like children clinging to a father who bids them farewell," said Tagle.
He urged Filipinos to pray for the pope, "especially as he devotes the coming years at the service of the Church through a life of prayer."
It was Pope Benedict XVI who appointed Tagle as the newest Filipino cardinal in late 2012.
The resignation Monday marks the first time in nearly 600 years that the head of the Catholic Church stepped down, with the last one being Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415.
Members of the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), however, lauded the decision of their leader.
"He based his decision on the will of God and the good of the Church. Great men do not cling to power. Good example," said Bishop emeritus Teodoro Bacani.
"It was an act of humility for the Pope to resign for reasons of health and needs of the church," said Jaro Archbishop Angle Lagdameo.
"I admire his courage and humility to accept the fact that the Church needs a younger head,” said Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros.
"A historic and heroic act. Giving up big powers is a brave act," said Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes.
Aside from church officials, Malacañang also expressed regret over the sudden resignation of the pope who only served as head of the one billion Catholic faithful for barely eight years.
In a statement issued late Monday, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda hoped that the Pope may find "peace and contentment" upon his resignation on February 28.
"Not only the Catholic world, but all peoples and nations of goodwill are filled with great regret as news comes of Pope Benedict XVI announcing he intends to relinquish the Petrine Ministry on February 28 of this year," Lacierda said.
"At this time, when the Pope has announced the physical challenge he faces makes it difficult to continue bearing the burdens of his office, we join the Catholic world and all whose lives he has touched, in prayer and sympathy. May he find respite from his physical challenges, and peace and contentment in the seclusion of retirement," he added.
The Palace official praised the Pope for showing humility by resignation, describing his move as "act of supreme faith."
"Pope Benedict XVI's decision, historic as it is, is in keeping with humility and pastoral approach he has placed at the core of his service as Pope. It is also an act of supreme faith in the institution he has headed, and the faith he has proclaimed to the world. We pause in human sympathy with Pope Benedict XVI in his acknowledgement of the great physical burden of his office," he said.
Lacierda recalled the "prayers and comforting words" the Pope has dedicated to Filipinos during times of calamities.
The conclave of cardinals is expected to be held in March within 15 or 20 days of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
A new Pope is expected to be elected before Easter Sunday on March 31.
"We hope and pray the Catholic Church and the Holy See will emerge from the coming period of the Sede Vacante, the conclave to come, with the election of a new Pope prepared to take up the great burdens and expectations of the Catholic faithful worldwide," said Lacierda.
Vice President Jejomar Binay also expressed sadness Tuesday over the decision of the Pope to give up the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church after nearly eight years in power.
Speaking to reporters in Cebu City, Binay said the Pope only showed his humility by knowing his physical limits.
"Tanggap niya na dahil sa kanyang physical condition, hindi siya makakapagtrabaho ng ine-expect ng kanyang mga pinamumunuan (He accepts that he can no longer perform his functions as head of the Catholic Church due to his physical condition). I think he's really a concrete example of, iyong, as humble as he has been," he said.
But while the 85-year-old Benedict shocked the world Monday by announcing his resignation at the end of the month, his brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, who was ordained on the same day in 1951 as his brother Joseph, the decision was no surprise.
"He has been thinking about it for several months," the elder Ratzinger said. "He concluded that his powers are falling victim to age."
He dismissed suggestions that the pope had been pushed to resign.
"The intrigues are a fairy tale," the 89-year-old said. "There were no intrigues against him."
He also said Pope Benedict XVI is planning to stay out of the public eye following his retirement at the end of the month but may stand ready to advise his successor if asked.
"It's possible he (the next pope) may ask for advice," said Ratzinger. "I think it's quite likely they will talk."
As for his successor, Ratzinger said his brother "feels that a younger person is needed to deal with the problems of the times."
Asked whether he thought the time had come for a pope from outside of Europe, Ratzinger said that could happen in the future, but that he did not think it would in the next election.
"For now I think the job will remain with a European," he said.
Ratzinger said he hoped to visit his brother in the Vatican later this year, but didn't expect the pope to return to Germany or Regensburg, where their parents and sister are buried.
The Vatican says Benedict will spend some time at the papal summer retreat south of Rome, and eventually return to the Vatican to live at a monastery inside the gardens. (HDT/Jill Beltran/Virgil Lopez/With AP/Sunnex)