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Cardinal Tagle finds Pope Benedict's resignation surprising, saddening

February 12, 2013 5:30pm
Pope Benedict XVI shows signs of weariness
Pope Benedict XVI shows signs of weariness . Pope Benedict XVI, the 85-year-old German-born Pope, hailed as a hero by conservative Catholics and viewed suspiciously by liberals, is seen assisted by aides as he arrives to attend a meeting with seminarians at the Romano Maggiore seminary in Rome in this Feb. 8, 2013 file photo. The Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI will step down as head of the Catholic Church on Feb. 28 because his strength had deteriorated in recent months. Reuters/Tony Gentile
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said he was both surprised and saddened over the decision of Pope Benedict XVI to give up his ministry.

“Pope Benedict XVI’s renunciation of the ministry as Bishop of Rome on February 11, 2013 came as a surprise. The announcement also brought sadness to us. We felt like children clinging to a father who bids them farewell,” Tagle said in a message on Monday.

On Monday, 85-year-old German-born Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will resign on February 28, making him the first pope to do so in centuries.

Tagle said he admired the Pontiff for being true to himself and to his ministry.

“But sadness gives way to admiration for the Holy Father’s humility, honesty, courage and sincerity,” Tagle said.

He expressed gratitude to the Pope for promoting the greater good of the Church.

“We know that the Papal ministry is not an easy task. So we thank Pope Benedict XVI, who was elected Pope at the rather advanced age of 78, for selflessly guiding the Church these past eight years with his teaching, simplicity and gentleness,” he added.

The Archbishop of Manila also urged Catholics to pray for Pope Benedict XVI who intends to devote the coming years serving the Church through prayer.

Papal contender

Tagle will be part of the conclave that will vote for the successor of Pope Benedict XVI after the latter officially vacates his position on February 28.

Tagle asked the people to pray for the Cardinal Fathers who will elect a new Pope in the coming conclave.

A Reuters report on Tuesday noted that Tagle has a charisma often compared to that of the late Pope John Paul.

He is also close to Pope Benedict after working with him at the International Theological Commission. While he has many fans, he only became a cardinal in 2012 and conclaves are wary of young candidates.

92 steps

Meanwhile, Father Francis Lucas, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Social Communication and Mass Media said there are 92 steps that need to be followed to name the next head of the Vatican.

Asked if there is a criteria in choosing a Pope, Lucas said there is none.

“Wala naman talaga qualification e…syempre based on tradition somebody who can give direction, somebody who is spiritual, sombody who is knowledgeable…kasi sa pagpili pa lang ng Obispo na-screen na ‘yan…” he added.

“Cardinal Tagle is a papbaile but we are never sure. We leave it to the Holy Spirit to do its job to elect the next pope,” Lucas added.

Lucas said, "Leave it to the Holy Spirit to really inspire the cardinals in choosing the next leader of the Catholic Church, a Pope who will really serve as a good pastor, firm in its faith with all humility and push for what is good for the whole society.”

Asked if Tagle has the qualities of a pope, Lucas responded affirmatively.

“He’s humble, meek, simple, bright, media-savvy, spiritual. He prays a lot, parang all of the above nasa kanya na, hindi mo makitaan ng yabang sa katawan…” Lucas spoke of Tagle.

Not like election

Meanwhile, Monsignor Joselito Asis, secretary general of the CBCP, said the bishops’ conference has received an official letter from Apostolic Nunciature on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

“I am charged by the Secretariat of State of His Holiness to inform you officially that during the Ordinary Consistory of yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI revealed his intention to renounce his ministry as Successor of St. Peter. The Holy Father’s decision takes effect from February 28th next at 8 o’clock in the evening, Roman Time,” part of the letter signed by Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines to CBCP President Archbishop Jose Palma said.

The CBCP has yet to issue an official statement regarding the Pope’s resignation.

Meanwhile, Palma advised Filipinos who are excited to have a Filipino pope or campaigning for Tagle to be the next pope.

“Hindi ito katulad ng election na we can campaign. What we can do is pray that the next pope would really lead the church particularly in his call toward new evangelization. Wala naman campaign once they enter the conclave they have to pray for the right guidance,” Asis added.

When asked about the chances of Tagle becoming the next Pontiff, Palma said everyone has the chance to be voted as the successor of Pope Benedict XVI.

“Kung chance lahat ng cardinal electors are candidates automatic all are candidates. The chances, this is the work of the Holy Spirit. Because as of now, kung tingin sa cardinal electors wala sila pinpoint na dominant name so it's really the pure work of the Holy Spirit kaya ito magiging exciting,” Palma said. - VVP, GMA News

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