Local Catholic church officials are reacting to today's announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will resign at the end of the month.
In a statement, Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr writes:
“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.”
Covington Bishop Roger Foys writes:
"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."