This morning, I was saddened to hear of Pope Benedict’s decision to resign on February 28, 2013. Citing his advanced age and deteriorating health, his decision is understandable but nonetheless a great loss for the Church.
During his eight years as Successor of St. Peter, Pope Benedict has been a courageous voice for the rights of the poor, a consistent defender of human life, and a champion of religious liberty for people of all faiths.
In his many speeches he has called us to be faithful to eternal truths rather than be swayed by relativism. Through his extensive writings he has set before us a clear invitation to come to know Jesus Christ personally and experience the salvation only He can offer.
Pope Benedict’s love of the United States was evident when he visited Washington and New York in 2008. At that time, not only did he meet with President Bush and the American bishops and hundreds of thousands of people, but also spent time offering solace to a group of victims of sexual abuse by clerics.
I am deeply grateful to Pope Benedict for his witness of service to the Church and for the example of his personal holiness. I pray that he will enjoy a peaceful retirement, and I ask all men and women of good will to pray for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as the Cardinals choose a new Pope.