Today, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would resign the papal office at the end of the month.
The Pope said his age and declining energy level is preventing him from carrying out the duties of the office. The announcement surprised many local Catholics, including leaders of local parishes.
“With the startling news that Pope Benedict is resigning at the end of the month, we pray for the church and its leaders to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in choosing a new Pope,” Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, at 2700 19th Street S., said on its Facebook page.
This afternoon, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington also commented on the Pope’s announcement.
In a statement, Bishop Paul S. Loverde said Catholics are “deeply grateful for his eight years of faithful and selfless service.”
As I reflect on the life and ministry of Pope Benedict XVI, I am unfailingly impressed by his serenity; a quiet, peaceful yet certain manner of speaking and acting. This serenity is rooted in his deep faith in the Lord Jesus, a faith that underlies hope and leads to love of God and neighbor. His decision to resign the Petrine Ministry on February 28th reflects this spirit of serenity.
Certainly, we are deeply grateful for his eight years of faithful and selfless service so evident in his homilies, encyclicals and addresses; in his numerous trips around the world, including his visit to our country in 2008; and his sensitive and pastoral concern for the faithful world-wide.
Thinking of the welfare of the Church which he loves so dearly and is serving so faithfully, our Holy Father is confident that his stepping aside for the election of a new pope truly will benefit the Church and allow him to continue his ministry of prayer for the Church.
I urge my brothers and sisters in the Church and beyond to pray for the welfare of Pope Benedict XVI and also to ask the Holy Spirit, Who inspired the Pope’s decision, to guide the Cardinals in the upcoming Conclave to elect a new Vicar of Christ and successor to St. Peter. With a similar serenity of spirit, let us pray for and support the Holy Father each day as he moves forward into a new chapter in his journey of faith. We remain confident about the future, recalling Christ’s words: “Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (cf. Mt 28:20).