Pope's resignation surprises bishop
A LOCAL Bishop has reacted to the news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, supporting the leader of the world's Catholics in his decision.
The German-born Pope Benedict announced his resignation at a meeting with world cardinals in his residence in the Apostolic Palace on Monday in a speech in Latin.
The Pope said he would resign, due to old age, on February 28 after just eight years as pope, making his one of the shortest pontificates in modern history.
"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," Pope Benedict said.
The only other resignations of Pope's are known to be Celestine V, who resigned in 1294, and Gregory XII, who abdicated his role in 1415.
The announcement makes the 85-year-old pontiff the first in 700 years to step down because he can no longer fulfill his duties.
Local Bishop, Rev Geoffrey Jarrett of Lismore Diocese spoke of the shock move yesterday.
"Pope Benedict's announcement of his retirement at the end of this month has taken us by surprise. After all, of the 265 Popes in history, only two have resigned, the last in 1415," Rev Jarrett said.
"Yet, on reflection the decision will be recognised as quite in character with this humble and courageous leader, who has always been a clear thinker and a man of decisive action."
"The Church is always moving on, and by Easter we expect a new Pope to be elected to lead the Catholic Church."
Rev Jarrett asked people of faith for their prayers in the process of choosing a new Pope, which commences on February 28, and to remember Pope Benedict "with gratitude for his Christian teaching and leadership".
"Pope Benedict has the sharp mind of surely one of the keenest thinkers and scholars of his era," Rev Jarrett said.
"We will remember him for his clear, profound but simple teaching of eternal truths, especially about the dignity of the human person and his strong warning against the dictatorship of relativism which takes over when people forget God."