MALACAÑANG has joined the rest of the Catholic world in expressing regret over the shocking resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
In a statement issued late Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda expressed hope that the Pope may find “peace and contentment” upon his resignation on February 28.
The 85-year-old Pontiff announced on Monday that he would resign citing old age and weariness in performing his duties as leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics.
The German-born leader of the Catholic Church revealed his historic decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals making him the first pontiff to resign in 600 years.
“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 challenges 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 an “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.
“We recall, in particular, with fond gratitude, the many prayers and comforting words Pope Benedict XVI has dedicated to Filipinos in times of calamity and challenge, and his words of encouragement and witness in the many Catholic events that have brought Catholics together, such as the recent canonization of San Pedro Calungsod,” he said.
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. (PCOO)