By Angeline Lesslar

Benedict's resignation as pope an act of humility

The seat of Saint Peter in Rome is vacant. A flock of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide await its new shepherd.

Cardinals from the various corners of the globe will now make their way to Rome.

 This College of Cardinals will converge to attend to only one item on the agenda - the election of a new pope.

The process is an intricate one of meetings and prayer before the conclave actually vote through secret ballot. A new pope can only be elected with a two thirds majority.

Meanwhile, Catholics will gather in St Peter's Basilica daily to await a white or black coloured emission of smoke to denote if a new pope has been elected.

White means success and a new pope is expected to be in place by Easter Sunday.

The pope's resignation was unexpected and received mixed reactions.

However, in faith, Catholics knew it was not a rash decision but one made after much discernment and prayer.

A decision made with courage and strength.

A Thai Buddhist theologian, Channarong Boonnoon, viewed the resignation as an act of humility and detachment. " An act of humility towards the truth, the world and others...detachment from positions of power."

He admired Catholic spirituality in that, 'Our job is to serve God,' not cling to positions of power and leadership.

Fr Jojo Fung, a Jesuit theologian from the East Asian Pastoral Institute in Manila, remarked, "One must learn the lesson that power is for service.

"If power is for lustful self gain, in terms of corruption, then power has lost its legitimacy. Any power that has lost its moral legitimacy calls for resignation on the part of the leaders."

The general reaction among Catholics in Malaysia is one of support for Benedict in his decision and admiration for acknowledging his human limitations and selflessly sacrificing himself for the good of the whole.

In his final speech Pope Benedict XV1 said he steps down for the good of the Catholic Church and pledges unconditional obedience and reverence to his successor.

He has always acknowledged that he is not a successor of kings and royalty but the successor of a fisherman, Peter.

A simple man who accomplished great things through his faith! Benedict's ultimate humility and actions will be a tough act to follow.

It will definitely leave a mark on global politics. His resignation is a model against totalitarian rule and an example of servant leadership.