Statement of the CRBC on
Pope Benedict XVI's declaration of resignation
 
During the Consistory convoked by Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican on the morning of February 11th, he declared that he would "renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter." That day the news was quickly communicated around the world, and was also the subject of media concern and coverage in Taiwan.

After hearing the news from foreign news agencies, the bishops of the local Church in Taiwan were completely surprised. The Vatican News Department quickly announced the actual statement of Pope Benedict XVI, and, although still surprised, the bishops of the Chinese Regional Bishops' Conference believe that Pope Benedict XVI, as the Supreme Pontiff of the Church, is acting very responsibly, humbly, courageously, and out of a deep love for the Church and the people of God.

Pope Benedict XVI, who previously was the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is at present the most outstanding theologian of the Church. He enjoys theological study and the search for truth. His attitude towards interpersonal relationships is also influenced by his theological thought. He is upright, conscientious and meticulous in his work. The Pope, as representative of Christ, is well aware of his mission to spread the Good News, to tend to his sheep, and to manage the affairs of the Church. It is only due to "advanced age that my strength is no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry" that he chose to acknowledge publicly his incapacity and renounce this ministry. He is not afraid to be misunderstood. All this is to enable a younger and stronger successor to represent Jesus Christ, to lead the Church and to serve the people of God as soon as possible. This unusual decision of the Pope, for Catholics as well as non-Catholics, is a good example of a leader: to pursue only what is beneficial to the Church community and not to seek one's own fame and status. This is also a special reminder for the clergy during this season of Lent.

Pope Benedict XVI will retire on February 28th at 8:00 pm. Aside from praying for the physical health of the Pope, we should also pray for the election of the new Pope. We beseech the Lord to give us a Pope who will correspond to His will in carrying out the Petrine ministry, especially to achieve the goal in this Year of Faith which is for the whole people of God to rediscover their faith and to assume the responsibility of passing on the faith.

Through their actions, the Chinese Regional Bishops' Conference will certainly show communion and obedience to whoever the next Pope will be. However, the Pope and the bishops of Taiwan will need the support of the faithful and of the religious communities. Hopefully, the sacrifices of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the universal Church will also bring to the Church of Jesus Christ in Taiwan an opportunity for growth in faith. Furthermore, may it encourage us to imitate more fully Jesus Christ's love for the Church, to always make the best decisions for His Church, and to help strengthen, revive and unite His Church.

John Baptist Hung Shan-Chuan, SVD
(President of the Chinese Regional Bishops' Conference)

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