MANILA - Filipino bishops and priests gave different reactions to Pope Benedict's decision to step down from his post by the end of the month.
Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias said he does not believe the Pope resigned because of the recent scandals and controversies affecting the Vatican.
He noted: "He was stronger than we thought but limited in doing things for his pastoral office."
If some bishops were shocked, Ateneo priest Father Jose Quilongquilong said he knew about it already because Pope Benedict mentioned it 2 years ago when he wrote his book.
He said that if one is weak and needs to resign, he should resign.
Former Lingayen, Dagupan archbishop Oscar Cruz said the Pope's resignation does not mean it is the end of the world.
He said he was not surprised by the announcement because he saw the Pope last December at the Vatican where he was having a hard time climbing the stairs.
"It's about time that we should set him free because of his condition," he said.
Fr. Quilongquilong said the possible conclave will be done on March 15. He said cardinals will be given secret ballots and will elect the cardinal suited to be pope.
The cardinal who gets two-thirds of the vote will be the next pope upon his acceptance
Upon resignation, the bishop shall be called his cardinal eminence and his duties as head of state will be taken from him and transferred to the next pope.
The Philippines is one of the most important countries in Asia for the Catholic Church. About 80 percent of the country's 100 million people are Catholic, a legacy of the country's former Spanish colonial rule. With Agence France-Presse