Catholic community praises Pope in wake of surprise resignation
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Most Rev. John Hung Shan-chuan, chair of the Chinese Regional Bishops' Conference (CRBC), commended Pope Benedict XVI's resignation as a brave decision yesterday.
February 13, 2013, 1:28 am TWN
Pope Benedict XVI announced on Monday plans to resign on Feb. 28, the first Pope to do so in six centuries.
Hung said that he was really surprised by the announcement, but he said the Pope's decision showcased his courage and humbleness.
“Pope Benedict XVI is probably one of the best writers among all theologians,” Most Rev. Hung said, “so I believe he will continue writing after retiring.”
From when Benedict XVI was elected on April 19, 2005, Hung said, there have been obvious signs of him getting older. Health issues could be the main reason why he decided to resign, Hung said.
Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Steve Hsia (夏季昌) said that the relationship between Taiwan and Vatican City is stable and amicable. The formal diplomatic relations established between Taiwan and Vatican City has not been affected.
“We praise Pope Benedict XVI for his dedication during his term,” Hsia said, “and MOFA will pay close attention to information regarding future candidates to the papacy.”
The Secretary-General of the CRBC Rev. Fr. Otfried Chan said the Pope knew there could be criticism regarding his resignation, but he still chose to announce his decision so younger candidates could be listed for future papal elections.
“Instead of occupying the position, the pope was honest about himself not being competent for the position given his health, which set a good example for leaders around the world,” Rev. Fr. Otfried Chan said.
As the Catholic Church's 265th pope, Benedict was the first German to hold the title in half a millennium. The resignation will not come into formal effect until the College of Cardinals, formed by 180 senior ecclesiastical officials, approves it.