THE Archbishop of Dar es Salaam, Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, has hailed the move by Pope Benedict XVI to announce his resignation, saying there is no need for panic and that other world leaders should learn from such decision.
"He has shown a high level of humility for seeing the truth inside himself and has come out publicly to announce his decision to resign," Cardinal Pengo told journalists in Dar es Salaam.
"He has shown us that the only thing to fear is God and that God will always be there to guide us so long as we live in this world knowing that we belong to Him," he said. Cardinal Pengo noted that the decision should act as a challenge to all other leaders in the world to always measure their strength to lead others and whenever they feel incapacitated they should always consider resigning.
"It is a lesson to leaders who have overstayed in power to the extent that their people are suffering because they have failed to serve them," he stressed. Cardinal Pengo noted that the move brought new hope to the church and that there was no need to panic because Catholics will remain united and strong as ever.
He, however, admitted that the incident, which is the second of that nature after six centuries in the history of the Church came as a complete surprise to everyone. When asked whether it was time for Africa to take the Church's throne, Cardinal Pengo said that the whole process according to the Catholic's setup was being driven by the Holy Spirit.
"We will soon converge in Vatican but while there we are not guided by the colour of our skins, not by the Continents where we come from but we surrender ourselves to God and the whole process is determined by the Holy Spirit," he said.
Cardinal Pengo cautioned over politicizing the matter by thinking in the lines of continents and colours, saying that if the next Pope comes from Africa, it will be the will of the Holy Spirit. In another development, Cardinal Pengo also made it clear that he was not dreaming of becoming the next Pope.
He said that the process to get a new Pope will begin on March 1 and is expected to take about two to three weeks. "I was there when we elected Pope Benedict XVI who came following the death of Pope John Paul II and it took three weeks.