CINCINNATI - Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday morning that he will abdicate the position because of his weaning strength and Catholics around the Tri-State are reacting to the surprising news.
Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati said in a release Monday that he, along with the church, will pray for Pope Benedict XVI's health.
In announcing his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI has acted humbly and unselfishly for the good of
the Church. That same spirit has characterized his entire life of service.
I will always remember Pope Benedict as he described himself on the day of his election as pope in 2005 – ‘a simple, humble laborer in the vineyard of the Lord.' When I was in Rome during the period that he was a prominent cardinal, I frequently would see him in St. Peter's Square, mingling with the crowds in the simple black cassock of a priest. Often he was asked by groups of tourists, undoubtedly assuming that he was one of the local priests, to take their picture. This he would do willingly and with a generous smile.
In my several encounters with him I found this brilliant theologian to be unfailingly kind, hospitable and welcoming. Ultimately he was a very pastoral man who won the hearts of all Americans on his pastoral visit to the United States in 2008. I will be forever grateful to him for naming me Archbishop of Cincinnati.
Along with the Church around the world I pray for his health and happiness in retirement.
Bishop Roger J. Foys of the Bishop of Covington released a statement commending Pope Benedict XVI for the great integrity he showed with a difficult decision.
This morning our Holy Father Benedict XVI, in his own words, communicated "a decision of great importance for the life of the Church." That decision is that as of February 28, 2013 Pope Benedict XVI will "renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of St. Peter."
The Holy Father gives as his reason for this decision that his "strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry." His reason is clear and forthright and speaks of a great integrity on his part and should be taken and understood as presented.
Pope Benedict has been a faithful son of the Church and has labored long and hard in the vineyard of the Lord. He has met challenges and criticism with firm faith in the Lord. In his statement the Holy Father acknowledges that he is "well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering." He has borne that suffering in an exemplary way in these difficult times in which we live when almost everything is questioned and even absolute truth, even the immutable truths of our Faith, is called into doubt and moral relativism is the order of the day.
Although his pontificate is not a long one in terms of years it is without a doubt a productive one. His pastoral visits, his Apostolic Letters, the books he authored, his declaration of the Year of Faith – all these and more have had a profound effect on the life of the Church. I will always remember fondly my own meetings with the Holy Father on the various occasions of my visits to the Vatican and especially during my ad limina visit last year at this time. Our Holy Father always received me kindly and always promised prayers for us in Covington while at the same time asking for our prayers for him.
We pray that the Holy Father may have the peace that comes from being faithful to the Lord, His Word and His Church and thank him for the example he has been to us all.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) also issued a statement regarding the pope's decision:
The prayers and gratitude of American Catholics are with Pope Benedict XVI today. The Holy Father's decision displays extraordinary humility and love for the Church, two things that have been the hallmarks of his service. Americans were inspired by his visit to the United States in 2008, and by his quiet, steady leadership of the Church in uncertain times. People of all nations have been blessed by the sacrifices he has made to sow the seeds of hope, justice, and compassion throughout the world in the name of Our Lord and Savior.
Rabbi Abie Ingerb of the Xavier University Center for Interfaith Community Engagement was supportive of the pope, who he has met twice:
Cardinal Ratsinger saw the infirmity of John Paul II certainly in his last years and my guess is that he was true to some of thinking, which is he would not want to be a Pope who could not serve his flock in a way that was totally giving and with the strength that he needed. So, think it's a very hopeful moment for the church.
David Endres, an asst. professor of Church history at Mount Saint Mary Seminary said this:
I think one of the things his legacy represents for us is the blending a great theological mind, but also one who is very pastoral and so we have a Pope that not only goes throughout the world visiting different countries like his predecessor did, but also someone in fact who is writing books -- who is a great theological mind -- a great theologian -- one who is always trying to teach and educate the faithful.
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