Chaput lauds pope for leading with grace in complicated times

Charles J. Chaput, arch­bish­op of Phil­adelphia, re­leased this state­ment on Monday after Pope Be­ne­dict XVI an­nounced he would resign the papacy.

“From his work as a young theo­lo­gian at Vat­ic­an II to his min­istry as uni­ver­sal pas­tor of the Church, Joseph Ratzinger has served God and the glob­al Chris­ti­an com­munity with in­tel­li­gence, elo­quence and ex­traordin­ary self-sac­ri­fice. 

“As Pope Be­ne­dict XVI, he has led God’s people through com­plic­ated times with un­com­mon grace, and his step­ping down now, at 85, from the bur­dens of his of­fice is an­oth­er sign of his pla­cing the needs of the Church above his own. Cath­ol­ics world­wide owe him a tre­mend­ous debt of grat­it­ude. He will re­main in our hearts and al­ways be in our pray­ers.”

Be­ne­dict said he made the de­cision, ef­fect­ive Feb. 28, be­cause of frailty due to his ad­vanced age. He will be­come the first pope in six cen­tur­ies to resign.

Re­tired Phil­adelphia Car­din­al Justin F. Rigali, 78, is among the 117 car­din­als world­wide who will be eli­gible to at­tend a con­clave at the Vat­ic­an and vote to se­lect the next pope. To vote, Car­din­als must be un­der the age of 80 when the pap­al seat is va­cated. ••

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