CAPTION: His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
Hindus have termed resignation of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, 85, as “great courage, brave & bold move, revolutionary step”, and hoped that the new Pope would be more open to reforms and interfaith dialogue.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, paying tributes to Pope Benedict, praised him for a life dedicated to the Church selflessly; being a remarkable theologian and academician and significant religious thinker; and attempts at interfaith dialogue, resolving multiple Church problems and handling huge challenges.
Zed, who is President of Universal society of Hinduism, described Pope Benedict as immensely charming and gentle, a man of calm, full of insight; but also sometimes showing signs of loneliness and out of sync with the changing times.
Rajan Zed lauded Pope Benedict’s decision to stand down reportedly for health and aging reasons but noted that it was an “entirely unexpected, surprise and rare development”. We would keep Pope Benedict in our prayers, Zed added.
Zed hoped that the new Pope, which would reportedly be elected at a conclave before Easter after Benedict vacated the position on February 28, would intensify the Roman Catholic Church’s efforts at leading interfaith dialogue and creating harmony among world’s diverse religions; be more open to reforms; and bring transparency, maturity, accountability and modernization to Church. Zed also urged the new Pope to come up with a detailed worldwide White Paper on the global child abuse scandal engulfing the Church.
Rajan Zed suggested that new Pope; leader of about 1.2 billion adherents worldwide, “supreme priest”, holder of “Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven”, supreme shepherd and teacher of the faithful, “The Holy Father”, “Servant of the Servants of God”; should dedicate himself for defending human rights, helping the helpless, charitable projects, human improvement, ecological responsibility, etc.
The new Pope should also seriously take-up the issue of apartheid faced by about 15-million Roma (Gypsies) of Europe, whose traces in Europe went as far back as ninth century CE, Zed stated.
Moreover, he should reconsider favorably the ordination of women priests as women could disseminate God’s message as skillfully as men and deserved equal and full participation and access in religion. Church could hold a referendum among its congregations worldwide to learn about the feelings of Catholics on the subject. Holy See being the largest religious organization in the world should show exemplary leadership in women equality to the rest of the planet, Rajan Zed argued.