Palma: Cardinals may choose a young PopeBy Ador Vincent S. Mayol
Cebu Daily News
The Catholic Church needs a young Pope.
So was the statement of Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma as cardinals around the world gather next month to elect the successor of resigned Pope Benedict XVI.
“The Holy Spirit will guide them (cardinals) and I feel that this time probably the Holy Spirit will inspire them to choose a younger one knowing that another old one may resign also,” Palma said in an interview after he presided over the Mass celebrating Ash Wednesday at the St. Joseph’s Chapel inside the Archbishop’s Residence yesterday morning.
The 62-year-old prelate said Pope Benedict XVI’s retirement because of dwindling strength and old age will be taken into consideration by the cardinal electors.
In his homily, Palma urged the congregation to pray for the Catholic Church and the intentions of the 85-year-old Pope.
“If the Catholic Church has been existing for over 2,000 years now, it is certainly in God’s hands. Let us trust in God,” he said.
Catholics yesterday entered the holy season of Lent with the imposition of ashes on the foreheads of the faithful.
“By nature, human beings are weak. We are influenced by the pleasure-seeking world. But it’s good to make voluntary sacrifices for the good of all. We thank God for loving us. We say because You love me, how do I love you and others?,” he said.
Palma echoed the words of Pope Benedict XVI that the best way to promote charity is to evangelize others.
He urged the people to observe the tripod of Lent which includes prayer, abstinence or fasting, and almsgiving.
Palma lauded Pope Benedict XVI for being an example of humility.
“It takes a humble Pope to resign. It’s takes a holy Pope to say that someone strong and active should become a Pope,” he said.
He said, he along with several Catholics were surprised upon learning about the Pope’s decision to resign.
But Palma said they understand Pope Benedict XVI’s decision.
“Being a Pope is really a very demanding job from the human point of view. Weakness of body to me is a valid reason,” he said.
Palma said Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle is equipped of the necessary qualities to become a Pope.
“Cardinal Tagle is certainly an able and capable leader,” he said.
But Palma said it’s up to the Holy Spirit to help the cardinal electors choose the right man to lead the Catholic Church.
Tagle, who was among the last batch of cardinals chosen by Pope Benedict XVI in a consistory in November last year, is the world’s second youngest cardinal.
He was among those favored to be elected the 265th Pope of the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict XVI is set to reliquish his apostolic post on Feb. 28 due to an advanced age which is longer suited to perform his pastoral ministry.