MANILA, Philippines—Vice President Jejomar Binay called on Filipinos on Tuesday to pray for Pope Benedict XVI’s better health in the wake of the pope’s announcement that he will abdicate his post by the end of the month.
In a statement, Binay expressed sadness over the 85-year-old Pope’s decision to resign, saying the pontiff looked healthy when he visited him in the Vatican City.
“I am deeply saddened by the news of the pope’s health. I have had the privilege of having an audience with His Holiness thrice and I never saw any outward sign that he was in frail health,” said Binay, who represented the Philippines several times in events in Rome.
He urged the public to pray for the pope’s recovery, reciprocating what the pope had done for the Philippines during times of difficulty.
The pope’s seven-year leadership of the Catholic Church raised the profile of Filipinos in the Holy See with the canonization of Saint Pedro Calungsod and the appointment of Cardinal Luis Tagle to the College of Cardinals.
“Filipinos have a special place in their hearts for His Holiness who offered us his prayers and succor during the calamities that afflicted thousands of Filipinos,” Binay said.
“He lifted our spirits with the elevation of Cardinal Luis Tagle and the canonization for San Pedro Calungsod. Let us pray for his recovery,” he added.