Shillong, Feb 12 (IANS) Pope Benedict XVI's announcement to resign due to his frailty has shocked and surprised everyone in the predominantly Christian Meghalaya.
Archbishop of Shillong archdiocese Dominic Jala expressed surprise at the decision but said he respects the Pope's decision, which was matter of conscience before God.
"We all admire his humility and sincerity and pray for him, thanking God for having given him as a shepherd and we pray for light that we may have a successor worthy of this ministry," Jala told IANS Tuesday.
India's formerdeputy minister Agatha K. Sangma, who met the Pope at Vatican in 2010, said: "It's extremely sad news that our Holy Father (Pope Benedict XVI) has to resign as a result of frailty."
"People all over the world, including myself, are praying for his speedy recovery and good health. The Catholic community in India and all over the world will also pray for the light that we may have a successor worthy of this ministry," Sangma said.
Expressing shock at the decision of the supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, former Meghalaya home minister Robert G. Lyngdoh said: "I am sure it must have been difficult for him, and it must have taken a lot of soul searching as well as courage to be able to do it."
Billy Peter Domes, former general secretary of Catholic Association of Khasi and Jaintia Hills, said: "I was shocked and stunned to learn of the news that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning. All I can say is it's God's will and as he's done in the past two millennia. I am sure he will be there to guide the Church and send a new Pope who will continue in the God ordained mission."
Echoing Domes, John Mario Sothun, a young Catholic believer, said: "It's believed by Catholics that a Pope is chosen by God himself but it seems like the Pope Benedict XVI is giving up on God's wish."
Of the state's total 7.5 lakh population, the Catholics constitute nearly 3 million people.