The Colombian cardinal Ruben Salazar will travel to Rome for Pope Benedict XVI’s final public hearing and to help select the next head of the Catholic Church.
“I think it is my duty to go to accompany him on his last public hearing,” said Cardinal Ruben Salazar, “and to thank him [for all] he has done for the church. Also, to thank him for the gesture of immense grandeur and generosity that was his resignation.”
Salazar admitted that the responsibility of electing a new pope makes him tremble. He asked for the prayers of his parishioners to aid in the decision of the conclave, that the assembled cardinals might discern what God wants for the church.
The cardinal, who is based in Bogota, was confident that he himself would not be selected for the job, “simply because the conditions of the Church in these times require another kind of person.”
Salazar is, however, eligible to be pope given his age.
Pope Benedict XVI claimed that his advanced age and declining health left him unfit to continue the performance of his duties as head of the Catholic Church, which has come under heavy scrutiny in recent years due to revelations of widespread sexual abuse and subsequent coverups.