Statement of Cardinal Al Rahi on the Resignation of the Pope

Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Raï has seen the resignation of the Pope by reasons of age, a model of responsible behavior. Today the head of the Maronite Church has paid tribute to the courage and sincerity of Benedict XVI, pointing out that his gesture of renunciation of the papal ministry - from 28 February - caused a "positive shock" to the world. The Patriarch added that this decision is a "model" in the exercise of duties, worthy to be offered to all the leaders of the world who have positions of responsibility, both in the Church and in politics and civil society.

In an official statement Cardinal Al Rai said that "in the Year of Faith inaugurated by the Holy Father on 11 October 2012, the announcement that shocked the world, has led to a positive shock in the hearts and is a model of behavior." The head of the Maronite Church adds that "it is a great act of faith, courage and sincerity. This decision is a lesson for all, it testifies that faith is a great act of love for Christ and his Church, a act of total surrender to the will of God, and a deep sign of self-denial and humility. "

Referring to the text read by the Pope to the cardinals, in which he foretold his decision, Patriarch Al Raï drew the attention of the faithful Lebanese, who had not taken note of the text, that Benedict XVI called explicitly his "conscience." The Pope, the Patriarch added, today announced it has made its decision in these terms: "After repeatedly examined my conscience before God and have come to the certainty that my strength, advanced age, are no longer appropriate to exercise properly the Petrine ministry. "

A lesson for all

"What a great testimony to all those who have positions of responsibility in the Church and in society, in the state!" added the head of the Maronite Church in Lebanon deepened by the political and administrative corruption. "This responsibility - added Cardinal Bechara Boutros Raï - must be exercised in full consciousness, and we must continually return to it, to hear the voice of God who questions the hearts and consciences, ensuring a functioning of the mission at the service of common good, which is good at the same time each and every one. "

In his message, the Maronite Patriarch recalled that Benedict XVI has made in Lebanon the last of his missionary journeys of the pontificate, September 14 to 16, signing his apostolic exhortation "Church in the Middle East, communion and witness". To confirm the vocation of Lebanon and its key role in the region, the Pope raised to the dignity of Cardinal the Maronite Patriarch "in order to give further impetus to his patriarchal ministry, within the universal Church" (24 November 2012). The Pope then entrusted to the Lebanese youth (under the guidance of the patriarch,) to prepare the meditations for the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum which will be celebrated on the night of Good Friday, which falls on 29 March. This initiative has been strongly desired by Benedict XVI, as a sign of recognition for the meeting of September 15, 2012 in Bkerke with Lebanese youth, who "deeply touched his heart."

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