Jonathan, Pope Promise To Promote Inter-Faith Dialogue

vlcsnap-2014-03-22-22h32m55s47President Goodluck Jonathan at the Vatican City conferred with Pope Francis I on the promotion of inter-faith dialogue in Nigeria and other parts of the world to foster greater global peace and security.

Speaking to journalists after his private meeting with Pope Francis, President Jonathan said that the promotion of inter-faith dialogue was a cause to which the pontiff was very committed.

The president who said that his administration was already working in close collaboration with Cardinal John Onaiyekan who was “the team leader” for the effort to strengthen inter-faith dialogue in Nigeria, assured the pope of his administration’s continued commitment to the promotion of religious harmony and the peaceful co-existence of people of all faiths.

In their meeting, the President assured the Pope of diligence in the administration’s effort to alleviate poverty in the land. He also gave the pope an update on the interfaith programme in Nigeria.

The Pope, President Jonathan said, also assured him that he would continue to pray for God Almighty to bless the country and its people.

“My coming to see the Pope was to discuss issues, especially that of inter-faith dialogue which the Vatican has been promoting.

“Also the Pope has been advocating that the world should do more to eradicate poverty and make sure that the ordinary people of this world are in a position to live more decent lives. The Pope is very dedicated to poverty alleviation and I also interfaced with him on how we can collaborate more with the Vatican on what we are already doing in this regard back home,” the President said.

After his private meeting with President Jonathan, Pope Francis received the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Prof Viola Onwuliri, Governor Godswill Akpabio and his spouse, Governor Gabriel Suswam, former Governor Peter Obi and his spouse, the wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Helen Mark and other members of the President’s entourage.

Others present at the enlarged audience with the Pope included Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Vatican, Dr. Francis C. Okeke, the Chaplain of the Presidential Villa, Venerable Obioma Onwuzurumba and Chief Mike Oghiadomhe.

Before leaving the Vatican, President Jonathan also conferred with the Secretary of State, Monsignor Pietro Parolin. He had received Nigeria’s Vatican-based Cardinal Francis Arinze earlier in the day at the St. Regis Hotel in Rome.

 

Pope Benedict XVI Resigns

Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85, the Spokesman to the spiritual father, Federico Lombardo, said on Monday.

The Pope told the Cardinals of the Catholic Church on Monday that he decided to take the decision due to “ill health”.

The last pope  to resign was Gregory XII in 1415. He was said to have taken the decision to end a supposed civil war in the church where more than one person claimed to be the Pope.

Benedict is the 265th Pope, and the sixth German to serve in this capacity. Benedict, who became Pope in 2005 is the first German to appointed since the 11th Century.

Below is the official Vatican translation of Pope  Benedict’s statement on his resignation:

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.

For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 11 February 2013 BENEDICTUS PP XVI