No Arab in the running for Pope, but Maronite to get vote for first time
Bishop Samir Mazloum said Monday the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was unexpected and rare in the papacy’s history.
Pope Benedict said in a historic announcement he no longer had the mental and physical strength to run the Roman Catholic Church.
Speaking to LBC TV, Mazloum said “the news was surprising to everyone,” adding that “the measures to elect a new pope will proceed normally through a preparatory phase.”
Pope Benedict’s resignation marks the first since Pope Gregory XII in 1415. The resignation means there will be no period of mourning before the conclave begins March 1 in the Sistine Chapel.
Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, having recently been appointed a cardinal, will participate in the election of a new pontiff, marking the first time a Maronite patriarch has been eligible to vote at a conclave.
During a historic visit to Lebanon in September, Benedict XVI prayed for peace, reconciliation and interreligious harmony in the Levant region.
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