Cardinal Rode Says Pope's Resignation Complete Surprise
Cardinal Franc Rode described on Monday the news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation as "complete surprise", although "not entirely unexpected".
The Slovenian cardinal wrote in a press release that only cardinals Tarcisio Bertone and Angelo Sodano had been informed about the pope's decision before today's announcement.
He said that the first reaction among the cardinals was "sadness, the feeling that a father and leader is leaving".
Still, Rode added that the news is not completely unexpected, as the pope had written in his "Light of the World" that he finds it fair that a pope gives up his service once he becomes aware that he can no longer perform it.
The cardinal moreover says that the pope indeed looked feeble today, but that his intellectual capacities and spirit were fully in tact. "In this sense he could have easily continued performing his service."
Rode adds that the decision was received by the cardinal with a lot of respect, as it was above all a sign of his great humility and ability to detach himself from an important role that he performed faithfully.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Slovenia, Archbishop Juliusz Janusz, responded by saying that Benedict XVI had his reasons for the decision and that these reasons needed to be respected.
While saying that "we can only thank god for his beautiful pontificate", Janusz highlighted the pope's tireless efforts to convince people that their spiritual side is more important than material things.
Tadej Strehovec of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference told the press that the pope had also marked the life and organisation of the Slovenian Catholic Church.
He pointed out that Slovenia got three new dioceses during Benedict XVI's pontificate, while the status of Maribor was raised into an archdiocese. Also, Lojze Grozde (1923-1943) became the first beatified martyr in Slovenia in 2010.