In heartfelt letter released today by the Holy See Press Office, the clergy and faithful of China expressed their love and affection to the Holy Father before he officially resigns from the papacy this evening.
The representative of the Chinese clergy recalled with fondness the Holy Father’s particular attention to the people of China, saying that the Holy Father had tried to “alleviate the cross we bear by showing concern.”
“During the eight years of your pontificate, you were always concerned about the Chinese clergy and faithful, and you were full of profound sentiments of friendship toward the Chinese people,” the letter stated.
The statement went on to recount various instances where the Holy Father displayed genuine affection and concern for the Chinese people especially during times where natural disasters struck the nation.
“We will not forget that when severe snow storms hit southern China when the earthquake shook Wenchuan, Sichuan in 2008, and when the earthquake happened in Yushu, Qinghai, and mudslides and flooding ravaged Zhouqu, Gansu, in 2010. Your Holiness not only grieved and lamented the death of our compatriots but also appealed to the universal Church to pray for the victims, the various government personnel and those kind-hearted people who participated in the rescue work in the front line of disaster areas,” the letter stated.
The representatives of the Chinese clergy and faithful expressed their admiration of the Holy Father for safeguarding human dignity and promoting the new evangelization.
Conveying their admiration of the Holy Father while also expressing sadness at his impending resignation, the clergy and faithful of China wished the Pontiff well in his last day as Pope.
“Please forgive our weaknesses and limitations. We hope that Your Holiness will continue to care for the little flock in China and stay connected to the Chinese people in prayer in your retired life in the future. We will also pray for you and your successor!” the message read.
“Thank you, dear Holy Father! We Chinese clergy and faithful will never forget you. We will love you forever!”
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On ZENIT’s webpage:
For the full message from the Chinese clergy and faithful, go to: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/letter-to-pope-benedict-from-chinese-clergy-and-faithful