02/28/2013, 00.00
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Chinese Catholics: Pope Benedict XVI will continue to pray for the Church in China

Bishops, priests, religious and lay people bid farewell to the pontiff: "Admiration and respect for a decision full of courage, wisdom and responsibility." A religious sister remembers an encounter with the Pope, "I told him he was welcome in China." Hopes his successor "will continue in the wake of Caritas in Veritate".

Beijing (AsiaNews) -  Chinese Catholics, religious, priests and bishops have been very shocked and surprised as well as saddened by news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation. However, they deeply admire and respect his decision which is filled with great courage and humility, wisdom and responsibility. He will continue to serve the Holy Church through prayers of contemplation, setting a good example for all.

Some lay Catholics expressed their great surprise when they first heard about the news of the resignation of the Holy Father. However, after their initial shock, most people believe that the Holy Father's decision is wise and courageous.  

One priest has written an article in his blog about the renunciation of the Pope.  He titled it "A Great and Responsible Decision!" to express his impression. He was surprised by the unexpected by the decision. However, the priest understands and deeply respects Benedict XVI's resignation. He said, "The decision of the Holy Father is not only great responsible for the Catholic Church, but also being respected decision. Indeed, it is not necessary to guess something, but the only thing that we should have is respectful and admirable. The priest explained the resignation of the Pope Benedict XVI is from his sincerity and nature according to the Code of Canon Law."

Another priest said, "I think that the Holy Father made a courageous and the faith-filled decision. By stepping down from leading the universal church, he chooses prayer as his way of continuing to serve the Church. Knowing his gifts as well as his limits is a good example for us all to imitate."  He also has expressed his expectation for the new Pope. He continues, "I hope the new Pope can effectively bring the joy and Good News of Christ to all people. His leadership style needs to be one that empowers others to be united and love."

Moreover, one bishop has carefully followed Benedict XVI's resignation. He said, "I feel Pope Benedict XVI is very great. His is an example of self-sacrifice for the good of the Church.  I respect his decision.  But I believe the Pope will continue to contribute to the Church through his prayers and his theological writings.  We should learn from the Holy Father -a good example.

One religious sister, currently studying theology in Rome, recalled the moment she met and shook  hands with the Holy Father during a general audience. She told him excitedly, "Holy Father, You are welcome to China."  His Holiness kindly responded, "I hope so."  She says she will continue to pray for the Holy Father. At the same time, she believes that Pope Benedict XVI will surely continue to pray for the Church in China in his life of contemplation. May the true religious freedom in the Church in China become true soon with communion, solidarity and reconciliation.  

At the same time, the Chinese Catholics are praying for the new Pope. Hopefully, the new Pope is a man of prayer with wisdom and grace from God; and he will have courage to face the challenges of secularism, leading the Universal Church to continue towards the truth and love, solidarity and communion in the love of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In the journey of the faith life, the new Pope will continue to practice the teachings of Caritas in Veritate by Pope Benedict XVI.      


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