28 February 2013

Tanzania Hails Pope As He Steps Down

Photo: Vanguard
Pope Benedict xvi

TANZANIA has joined the Catholic Church community in the world to bid farewell to Pope Benedict XVI by wishing him a happy life in retirement.

It has urged the Pope's successor to emulate the outgoing Pontiff in his peace promotion crusade. Pope Benedict XVI steps down on Thursday.

He stunned the church and the world when he announced on February 11 that he no longer had the mental or physical strength to carry on with his role. He became the second Catholic leader to do so in 600 years.

The Minister of State in the President's Office responsible for Social Relations and Coordination, Mr Stephen Wassira, told the Daily News that the Pontiff always stood for peace and solidarity of the world and Tanzania will keep cherishing him.

"His teachings and directives offer us a lesson when we have some people using religious faiths to disrupt peace and create disharmony. So, we will always cherish his spiritual leadership," he said. He said Tanzania and the entire world was looking forward to the Church to conduct an exercise of selecting another Pope who can follow footprint of his predecessor well.

On his side the Auxiliary Bishop of Bukoba Catholic Diocese, Method Kilaini, said the 'resignation' of Pope Benedict should be a lesson to local politicians of building a culture of stepping down whenever they felt unable to carry on serving their people in any reason.

He admitted that the Church was not used to the style of resigning from the Basilica but Pope Benedict's move was not new to the history of the Church. Bishop Kilaini said despite the rare move by the Pontiff, the Church will maintain its unity and remain stable. On the possibility for the Cardinals already gathered in Vatican to elect a new Pope from Africa, Bishop Kilaini said anything can happen if God wished.

"Who knew God would appoint a Pope from a small country like Poland then? So it is possible through such miracles that Africa can pick a potential candidate this time around," he predicted. Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI told the 150,000-strong crowd in St Peter's Square in Rome that he had been aware of the "gravity" of his decision to step down but it was for the good of the Church.

As he arrived in the square, the Pope greeted pilgrims in St Peter's Square and waved to tens of thousands of people who gathered to bid him farewell. He was driven around in an opensided vehicle, surrounded by bodyguards. At one point he stopped to kiss a baby handed up to him by his secretary and the crowd fell silent as he started to speak.

The Pope began by saying he will keep the faithful in his prayers and he has "great trust" in the future of the church. "To love the church means also to have the courage to take difficult, painful decisions, always keeping the good of the church in mind, not oneself," Benedict said amid thundering applause.

He recalled that when he was elected pope on April 19, 2005, he questioned if God truly wanted it. "It's a great burden that you've placed on my shoulders," he recalled telling God. He said his Papacy had faced joy, but also had undergone "difficult moments". He said that during his time as leader of the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world, he had negotiated "turbulent seas".

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