Bishops’ Conference President’s Statement on Pope Benedict XVI’s Decision to Resign

11/02/2013 12:27 pm

A statement on the news that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, will resign on 28 February 2013 by the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols:

“Pope Benedict’s announcement today has shocked and surprised everyone. Yet, on reflection, I am sure that many will recognise it to be a decision of great courage and characteristic clarity of mind and action.

“The Holy Father recognises the challenges facing the Church and that ‘strength of mind and body are necessary’ for his tasks of governing the Church and proclaiming the Gospel.

“I salute his courage and his decision.

“I ask people of faith to keep Pope Benedict in their prayers. We Catholics will do so, with great affection and the highest esteem for his ministry as our Holy Father remembering with joy his Visit to the United Kingdom in 2010. Pray, too, for the Church and all the steps that must take place in the next weeks. We entrust ourselves to the loving Providence of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”

Other comments:

Cardinal Keith O’Brien:

“Like many people throughout the world, I was shocked and saddened to hear of the decision by Pope Benedict XVI to resign. I know that his decision will have been considered most carefully and that it has come after much prayer and reflection.

I will offer my prayers for Pope Benedict and call on the Catholic community of Scotland to join me in praying for him at this time of deterioration in his health as he recognises his incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to him.

I hope I will also be able to rely on the prayers of Catholics across the world for the Cardinal Electors as we prepare to travel to Rome in order to participate in the conclave, which will be convoked to elect a successor as Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff.”

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury:

It was with a heavy heart but complete understanding that we learned this morning of Pope Benedict’s declaration of his decision to lay down the burden of ministry as Bishop of Rome, an office which he has held with great dignity, insight and courage. As I prepare to take up office I speak not only for myself, and my predecessors as Archbishop, but for Anglicans around the world, in giving thanks to God for a priestly life utterly dedicated, in word and deed, in prayer and in costly service, to following Christ. He has laid before us something of the meaning of the Petrine ministry of building up the people of God to full maturity.

In his visit to the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict showed us all something of what the vocation of the See of Rome can mean in practice – a witness to the universal scope of the gospel and a messenger of hope at a time when Christian faith is being called into question. In his teaching and writing he has brought a remarkable and creative theological mind to bear on the issues of the day. We who belong to other Christian families gladly acknowledge the importance of this witness and join with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters in thanking God for the inspiration and challenge of Pope Benedict’s ministry.

We pray that God will bless him profoundly in retirement with health and peace of mind and heart, and we entrust to the Holy Spirit those who have a responsibility to elect his successor.

Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster has issued a statement on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI:

The news of Pope Benedict XVI’s impending resignation at the end of February will have come as a shock and a cause of sadness to many Catholics and to numerous others,believers and non-believers alike. The burden of the Petrine office is a heavy one and the Church can be immensely grateful for the willingness of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in assuming such a responsibility at his age in 2005. We can but admire his courage in deciding that he no longer possesses the physical and mental strength to continue as the successor of Peter.

Since his election the Holy Father has carried out his papal duties with devotion and dignity,and employed his many gifts, not least those of a fine intellect, as supreme pastor of the Church. Catholics in England and Scotland recall with pleasure and pride, as well as gratitude, his recent visit to these islands and the powerful impact for good his presence had on so many of our fellow-citizens.Being Pope, with concern for all the churches as St. Paul expressed it, has never been easy. History will record the years of Pope Benedict’s papacy as particularly difficult and trying ones for the Church. Equally, his prayerfulness and quiet dignity brought a sense of God’s calm and reassurance to believers in often troubled times.

We thank God for the blessing that Pope Benedict has been to the Church and to the world,and we will accompany him in prayer as he moves into retirement and the promise of quieter days. On this Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes we commend the Holy Father to the loving care and maternal protection of Our Blessed Lady, the Mother of our saviour.

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About Gertrude

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
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