FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley responds to the news of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (Feb. 11, 2013) – The Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, made the following statement today on the announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will resign at the end of the month:

“Pope Benedict XVI announced today that he will resign the papal office on Feb. 28.  He has cited his concern that his diminishing energies and advanced age no longer allow him to adequately discharge the heavy responsibilities entrusted to him as Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. 

“This news has caught us all by surprise. It is the first time in modern history that we have had a papal resignation.  The previous one was in 1415.  Pope Benedict has caught many by surprise during his pontificate.  This wise and gentle shepherd proved to be a very different kind of man than many had expected.  He has led the Catholic Church through very challenging times with great wisdom and charity.  Though saddened by this announcement I am grateful for his faithful ministry and extraordinary leadership. 

“I was present in St. Peter’s Square on April 19, 2005, when Pope Benedict XVI was introduced as the successor of Pope John Paul II.  I have had the privilege of meeting him on various occasions, including during a special visit after he had appointed me Archbishop of Oklahoma City two years ago.  

“Pope Benedict’s legacy will be tremendously rich. He leaves us an extraordinary body of papal teaching on a wide range of topics.  Along with his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, he has given us an authoritative interpretation of the Second Vatican Council refocusing the Catholic Church on its missionary mandate to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“The Cardinals of the Church will convene in conclave shortly after the resignation takes effect to elect the 266th pope as the Successor of Peter and the Vicar of Christ.”

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