Trivandrum (AsiaNews) -
The announcement of the resignation
of Benedict XVI has caused quite a stir across Asia. Church leaders and
others shared their views here with AsiaNews.
His Beatitude Mar
Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, major archbishop of Trivandrum of Syro-Malankara (Kerala,
It is quite surprising.
No one expected it from our Pope Benedict XVI. At the same time, I am convinced
that this kind of thing can only come from a saint, because there are no precedents
in the recent past and because it comes from someone like the Holy Father, who
is respected for his deep relationship with God and his sincere love for the
Church. He thought that the Church needed a new guide to ensure an effective
Petrine Ministry; hence, for this reason, he has decided to resign from the
active ministry as bishop of Rome.
Mgr Jean-Clément Jeanbart,
metropolitan archbishop of Aleppo for the Greek-Melkite Church.
Pope Benedict XVI is a
man of courage who is not afraid of defending the truth in front of the world. He
was the first and for many months the only leader to appeal for an end to the
war in Syria through dialogue and diplomacy. We are grateful to him for what he
has done for a people torn by the conflict. His visit to Lebanon epitomises his
sincere closeness. We are very sad that he has resigned, but we trust the
wisdom and deep spirituality that brought him to this choice.
During the years of his
pontificate, he has shown boundless love for the Church and Jesus Christ. He
was an extraordinary pope at a difficult time for the world and for Catholics. He
knew how to express the thoughts of the Church as well as God's will without
timidness or hesitations using simple but strong terms, clarity and transparency.
In his speech in Regensburg,
he addressed Muslims for the first time, indicating a path based on fundamental
values and reason for a true dialogue between faiths so as to stem rampant
Islamic fundamentalism. Nowadays, the extremism the pope talked about is no
longer an isolated phenomenon. It is spreading and is in danger of destroying
the nations of the Middle East, starting with Syria.
I was lucky to meet him.
I spoke with him in private only once. After I wrote a book in Arabic about John
Paul II's life, I came to Rome to give him a copy. I was moved when he received
me even though there were many bishops and important people behind me.
I still remember with
emotion those moments, especially his capacity to listen. In the past few years,
he has been a true father and pastor for all the bishops and all the priests, especially
for the Christians of the Middle East.
Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land.
I am stunned by the
news. It is a gesture that we must understand in its profundity because it is
quite new for the Church. We shall see where it will end. His action is truly
important. We need time to digest it. Somehow, I think it demystifies in a
positive way some aspects of the Petrine Ministry.
Pope Benedict XVI has
always been close to us in the Holy Land. He made a major trip to the region. He
spoke to us, led the synod and gave us the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente. I am certain
that the Holy See will continue to be concerned about the Holy Land.
president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).
We shall miss Benedict
XVI a lot for what he was, for his quiet ways. He was the most inspiring pope in
our lifetime. The results the pontiff obtained are unforgettable. He renewed the
worship in the Church, reconnecting it to the majesty and deep piety of the
past. He forged new ties with non-Catholics, for example, by bringing former
Anglicans into the fold through the Ordinariate. He issued papers that brought the
love and teachings of Christ back to Church institutions, which he now feels he
can no longer lead.
Lenin Raghuvanshi, an
atheist and activist, head of the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights
(PVCHR) in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh, India).
The pope's resignation
shows the perfection of truth, confirming all his teachings and prayers. This
is the spirituality of truth. The extraordinary step taken by the head of the
Catholic Church is a powerful message of detachment and simplicity to the
world. This is real power. It is in keeping with the life and teachings of Jesus
Christ. In a world that clamours for power and status, the pope leads the way to
the truth as the first pope to resign in over 600 years.
This historic event is
a lesson for the international community, that the greatest power is found in truth
and the courage of conviction for the good of the whole world.
It is amazing. His
Holiness, not only through his spiritual leadership, but also through his
frailty, has become the leader of world with insight and wisdom, challenging
the logic and sensibilities of the world. This is real power. This is truth. This
is strength and fortitude.
His Beatitude Louis
Raphael I Sako, Chaldean patriarch of Iraq.
Benedict XVI has been a
model for all of us, Catholics and non-Catholics. We must respect him even more
for this act of humility. The pope has shown his greatness to the world, the wonder
of his character, taking a step that we must all do when our body and spirit
prevent us from continuing. He made a choice that history shall remember,
starting with the men of the clergy and the Church. Too many times, many of us
have refused to leave a see even though we could not fulfil our duties.
The pontiff has
reminded us once more that the see exists to serve, not to be served. In fact, when
we recently met him after my appointment as the head of the Chaldean Church, we
saw small changes to the protocol, a sign of some of the difficulties he was
having. On that occasion, pope and patriarch were supposed to address the ceremony
after the celebration. However, we were told that this would not occur. We then
realised that he was tired and could no longer bear the weight of his tasks.