Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster has issued a statement on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI:
The news of Pope Benedict XVI’s impending resignation at the end of February will have come as a shock and a cause of sadness to many Catholics and to numerous others,believers and non-believers alike. The burden of the Petrine office is a heavy one and the Church can be immensely grateful for the willingness of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in assuming such a responsibility at his age in 2005. We can but admire his courage in deciding that he no longer possesses the physical and mental strength to continue as the successor of Peter.
Since his election the Holy Father has carried out his papal duties with devotion and dignity,and employed his many gifts, not least those of a fine intellect, as supreme pastor of the Church. Catholics in England and Scotland recall with pleasure and pride, as well as gratitude, his recent visit to these islands and the powerful impact for good his presence had on so many of our fellow-citizens.Being Pope, with concern for all the churches as St. Paul expressed it, has never been easy. History will record the years of Pope Benedict’s papacy as particularly difficult and trying ones for the Church. Equally, his prayerfulness and quiet dignity brought a sense of God’s calm and reassurance to believers in often troubled times.
We thank God for the blessing that Pope Benedict has been to the Church and to the world,and we will accompany him in prayer as he moves into retirement and the promise of quieter days. On this Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes we commend the Holy Father to the loving care and maternal protection of Our Blessed Lady, the Mother of our saviour.