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Malacañang Joins in Expressing Regret Over Pope’s Resignation

Manila- Feb. 12 – Malacanang has joined the rest of the Catholic world in expressing regret over the shocking resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda expressed hope that the Pope may find “peace and contentment” upon his resignation on February 28.

The 85-year old Pontiff announced on Monday that he would resign citing old age and weakness in performing his duties as leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics.

“Not only the Catholic world but people and nations of goodwill are filled with great regret as news comes of Pope Benedict XVI announcing he intend to relinquish the Petrine Ministry of February 28 this year,” Lacierda said.

“At this time. When the Pope has announced the physical challenges he faces makes it difficult to continue hearing the burdens of his office, we join the Catholic world and all whose lives he has touched in preayer and sympathy. May he find respite from his physical challenges and peace and contentment in the seclusion of retirement,” he added.

Mr Lacierda praised the Pope for showing humility by resignation describing his move as “act of supreme faith.”

“Pope Benedict XVI’s decision, historic as its, is in keeping with humility and pastoral approach he has placed at the core of his service as Pope. It is also an act of supreme faith in the institution he has headed, and the faith he has proclaimed to the world. We pause in human sympathy with Pope Benedict in his acknowledgement of the great physical burden of his office,: he said.

Lacierda recalled the “prayers and comforting words “ the Pope has dedicated to Filipinos during times of calamities.

“We recall in particular, with fond gratitude, the many prayers and comforting words Pope has dedicated to Filipinos in times of calamity and challenge, and his words of encouragement and witness in the many Catholic events that have brought together, such as the canonisation of Saint Pedro Calungsod,” he said.

The conclave of cardinals is expected to be held in Milan within 15 or 20 days of resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

A new pope is expected to be elected before Easter Sunday march 31.

“We hope and pray the catholic Church and the Holy See will emerge from the coming period of the Sese Vacante, the conclave to come, with the election of the new Pope prepared to take up the general burdns and expectations of the Catholic faithful worldwide,” said Lacierda.