Prague - The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was an act of "spiritual courage," said Prague Archbishop Cardinal Dominik Duka in an interview with Czech Internet newspaper Aktualne.cz.
"I appreciate his spiritual courage to make this important step, which he already declared as possible at the start of his pontificate," said Duka about Pope Benedict XVI's announcement yesterday that he will resign on February 28.
Cardinal Duka will be the only Czech cardinal to have a voice in the election of a new Pope. Cardinal Miloslav Vlk is more than 80 years old, which means he can no longer participate in the election.
Cardinal Vlk said that the Pope's announcement was not very surprising to him. "When I met the Pope two weeks ago, it seemed to me that he was very weak, so for this reason I was not surprised," said Vlk in state Czech Television.
Czech ambassador to the Holy See Pavel Vosalik said that the announcement was not too surprising, because Pope Benedict had admitted a long time ago the possibility of resigning for health reasons.
Vosalik also said that Benedict XVI is the first Pope to resign since the 13th century.
Olomouc Archbishop Jan Graubner said that Pope Benedict XVI's resignation will not cause a revolution in the Catholic Church. However, Graubner admitted that he would not be surprised if the next Pope came from Latin American.
"It may not necessarily be the case, but I wouldn't be surprised by it, because (Latin America) has the largest number of Catholics," said Graubner.
The traditional conclave of cardinals will gather probably before the end of March to elect the new Pope.