Slovak bishops surprised by Pope's resignation, but respect it

While the Slovak Bishops’ Conference (KBS) was surprised by Pope Benedict XVI's announcement that he is resigning, the organisation fully respects the Pope's decision, the TASR newswire was told by KBS spokesman Jozef Kováčik on Monday, February 11.

While the Slovak Bishops’ Conference (KBS) was surprised by Pope Benedict XVI's announcement that he is resigning, the organisation fully respects the Pope's decision, the TASR newswire was told by KBS spokesman Jozef Kováčik on Monday, February 11.

"It's surprising news, but something that is entirely in accordance with the Holy Father's rights," Kováčik said, adding that despite the pontiff's resignation, planned for February 28, KBS is leaving unchanged its plans for a 'national pilgrimage of Slovak bishops' to Rome due to take place between February 25 and 28. No changes are being planned for a papal audience of bishops set to be held at the Vatican on February 27. [This is the first time a pope has resigned since Gregory XII in 1415 - ed. note]

Pope Benedict XVI, 85, wants to fulfil his duties perfectly, and his feeling that he is unable to do that anymore may be the reason for his resignation on Monday, Slovak Cardinal Jozef Tomko said later in the day. Tomko, who has served on several senior posts in the Vatican - most recently as a member of the three-member commission to investigate the so-called Vatileaks affair - was present at the consistory, at which Pope Benedict made the announcement of resignation from the post he has held since 2005.

"I remember John Paul II, who was far weaker at the end of his life than Benedict XVI is currently ... He's a person who wants to fulfil his duties perfectly, however. This may be at the root of his decision, but his radical decision is a riddle even for us," said Tomko as cited by the website of the Press Office of the Slovak Bishops Conference (KBS).

Slovak diplomacy appreciates the all-round effort of Holy Father Benedict XVI to address the problems plaguing humanity and foster the dialogue between cultures and religions, according to Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Boris Gandel in reaction to the decision of Pope Benedict XVI to resign. Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič received the announcement of resignation made by Pope Benedict XVI on Monday with surprise, stating that
the Pope represents the strong moral authority of the Catholic Church. Similar opinions have been expressed by Prime Minister Robert Fico and Christian Democratic Movement’s chairman Ján Figeľ.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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