Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement today that he is to resign as Bishop of Rome on February 28 came as a surprise to everyone, according to the Leeds Diocese which includes Calderdale.
Monsignor John Wilson, diocesan administrator, said: “The Diocese of Leeds wishes to express its spiritual solidarity with Pope Benedict XVI and the worldwide Catholic Church at this time.
“Pope Benedict is a humble disciple of Jesus Christ and a faithful and courageous successor of St Peter.
“His intellect and witness have sustained Catholics throughout the past eight years.
“We will now join in praying with our Holy Father for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we move towards the election of a new Pope in a few weeks’ time.
“Until then, we pledge our loyalty and affectionate fidelity to Pope Benedict and unite in asking the Lord to bless him and the Church across the world.”
Pope Benedict told a meeting of Cardinals today: “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”
Due to his “incapacity to adequately fulfil” the ministry entrusted to him Pope Benedict added: “With full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on April 19, 2005, in such a way, that as from February 28, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.”
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