Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Bishop Richard G. Lennon plans to speak at greater length Monday afternoon about Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign his papacy. He released a statement Monday morning with his immediate reaction:
“Today’s announcement by Pope Benedict XVI that he will resign as Holy Father on February 28, 2013 is an historic event and an action motivated by his love of the Church.
“One of my fellow bishops had this reflection on today’s announcement, which I would like to share: ‘Most of us know in our own personal lives what it means to see a parent grow old and decline in ability. That is the sense we bring to this announcement by our spiritual father.’
“Pope Benedict XVI has been faithful and dedicated to Jesus Christ his entire life, exemplified in establishing this current Year of Faith, when he asked all Catholics to ‘live their relationship with Jesus Christ.’
“Although I did not know him well, a year ago I had the privilege to spend about 40 minutes with Pope Benedict along with my fellow bishops of Ohio as we discussed church matters in Ohio and the United States. He interacted with us, demonstrating his pastoral heart.
“I encourage the faithful to pray for Pope Benedict XVI, asking God to bless him with his gifts of peace and joy. Also, I invite all the faithful to join with me to pray to the holy spirit, asking him to give us a successor who will continue leading our church and reflecting the image of Jesus Christ.”