I, along with all of the world, am surprised by Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign as Holy Father at the end of this month. His statement refers to the strength that is necessary for one to serve as Pope, and, as he nears his 86th birthday, he speaks of his strength deteriorating and his wish to “…devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.”
I have great love and esteem for our Holy Father Benedict and am touched by his humble admission of the strength necessary to carry on this ministry of Christ. This is a decision that reflects Pope Benedict’s stewardship of his office and is a sign of his deep humility.
As I pray for him and for his successor, it is with gratitude for the wonderful spiritual leadership that he has provided for the Catholic Church throughout the world over these eight years. Of course I recall with deep gratitude his appointment of me as Archbishop of Louisville almost six years ago and with deep affection the ad limina visit of January 2012 and the three-week Synod for the New Evangelization last October.
With Pope Benedict, I now call upon all the faithful to pray, both in gratitude for the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church and with special prayers to guide the Cardinals who will meet in Consistory immediately after February 28th to elect his successor. May Christ guide us, and may our Mother Mary intercede for us.
Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D.
Vice President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Archbishop of Louisville
February 11, 2013
Archbishop Kurtz’s Press Conference on the Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI
Statement of Cardinal Timothy Dolan
DATE: February 11, 2013
FROM: Sr. Mary Ann Walsh
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PAPACY OF POPE BENEDICT XVI HIGHLIGHTED HIS PASTORAL, SCHOLARLY, HOLY LIFE, SAYS CARDINAL DOLAN
Sad he will resign but grateful for his eight years of selfless leadership
Reached out to religiously threatened in Middle East, poor in Africa, world’s youth
Highlighted value of human life
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued this statement moments after learning of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013.
Statement of Cardinal Timothy Dolan
The Holy Father brought the tender heart of a pastor, the incisive mind of a scholar and the confidence of a soul united with His God in all he did. His resignation is but another sign of his great care for the Church. We are sad that he will be resigning but grateful for his eight years of selfless leadership as successor of St. Peter.
Though 78 when he elected pope in 2005, he set out to meet his people – and they were of all faiths – all over the world. He visited the religiously threatened – Jews, Muslims and Christians in the war-torn Middle East, the desperately poor in Africa, and the world’s youth gathered to meet him in Australia, Germany and Spain.
He delighted our beloved United States of America when he visited Washington and New York in 2008. As a favored statesman he greeted notables at the White House. As a spiritual leader he led the Catholic community in prayer at Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. As a pastor feeling pain in a stirring, private meeting at the Vatican nunciature in Washington, he brought a listening heart to victims of sexual abuse by clerics.
Pope Benedict often cited the significance of eternal truths and he warned of a dictatorship of relativism. Some values, such as human life, stand out above all others, he taught again and again. It is a message for eternity.
He unified Catholics and reached out to schismatic groups in hopes of drawing them back to the church. More unites us than divides us, he said by word and deed. That message is for eternity.
He spoke for the world’s poor when he visited them and wrote of equality among nations in his peace messages and encyclicals. He pleaded for a more equitable share of world resources and for a respect for God’s creation in nature.
Those who met him, heard him speak and read his clear, profound writings found themselves moved and changed. In all he said and did he urged people everywhere to know and have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
The occasion of his resignation stands as an important moment in our lives as citizens of the world. Our experience impels us to thank God for the gift of Pope Benedict. Our hope impels us to pray that the College of Cardinals under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit choose a worthy successor to meet the challenges present in today’s world.
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