CBCP to Pope: ‘Many of us shed tears’

Ryan Sorote
CBCP sends a final letter to Pope Benedict XVI, the outgoing head of the Catholic Church

OUTGOING POPE. The portrait of Pope Benedict XVI (L) is displayed next to Pope John Paul II's on a wall of the St Paul Outside the Walls’ basilica on February 13, 2013 in Rome. The portraits of each pope are displayed in a frieze extending above the columns separating the four aisles and naves. AFP Photo/Tiziana Fabi

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Catholics Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma has sent a final letter to Pope Benedict XVI, who resigns Thursday, February 28.

“We, the people of God in the Philippines, find it difficult to describe how we felt when you announced Your Holiness’ resignation as our beloved Supreme Pontiff,” said Palma’s letter on behalf of the CBCP.

The letter also said the CBCP understood the Pope’s desire to turn over the responsibility of governing the Church to an able successor.

“Many of us shed tears. But we know that it is because of Your Holiness’ great love for the Church that, after a long period of discernment, you made that decision and that it is all for the good of Christ’s faithful,” the letter explained.

‘Why me?’

Since the Holy See appointed him as Cebu archbishop two years ago, Palma said he has wondered why the Pope chose him from among other senior and more qualified bishops.

He said the support of the Pope, however, has strengthened and guided him in his new journey, especially as president of the CBCP. He said the Pope’s resignation was a shock, but was also an act of faith. 

“He left a legacy and an example to many – not to cling to privilege and honor and power. If we think that somebody else might be in a better position to offer that for the love of the Church,” Palma said in an interview with News5 Cebu. 

“Our sole leader is Christ. So the point is, for us, one Pope goes, but Christ always stays with the Church. And this is the mindset of Pope Benedict,” Palma said. – Rappler.com

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