ONE man who was not surprised by the decision of Pope Benedict to resign is the Bishop of Ossory, Dr Seamus Freeman. He knows the pontiff well from his days in Rome and said it is in keeping with his personality of promoting the truth and defending it.
Bishop Freeman who met the pope on a regular basis while he was working in The Vatican, said he doubted if Benedict would stay in Rome, despite media reports to the contrary. He pointed out that for his holidays every year, the pontiff would spend a sweek or two, sometimes staggered over the summer, in Benedictine monastries in Switzerland, Austria and Italy.
He also doubted if the church in Africa, India or other areas (still officially called the Young Churches) outside of Europe were in a position to elect a new pope. He thinks that a new pope will again be European in keeping with the trend for centuries although he personally would favour a non-European pontiff.
Speaking about Poppe Benedict, he said that despite the media view, the retiring pope was a very gentle person who was quielty spoken and who cared deeply for others.He said that the pope always sought the truth, especially in controversial issues like the ordination of women priests. “He couldn’t get to the truth on that and so decided to leave it with his successor to deal with,” Bishop Freeman said.
“This is a man who has always been true in everything he does and he knew that he was gone beyond it and that is why I think he resigned now,” he said welcoing the courage shown by Benedectine.
On the upcoming election of a new Bishop of Rome and leader of the Catholic Chuyrch, he said that, always in the past, the person who went in as favourite came back out still a Cardinal. He said when the conclave meets it will spend the first week responding to what the Church needs at this moment and time and how they can prepare for that and after a week a number of candidates will emerge and he, who they think will best represent the church in repsonse to the challenges, will be chosen,” he said.