Cleveland's Bishop Richard Lennon: Pope Benedict XVI resigning sign of ‘his love of the church'

CLEVELAND - Cleveland Catholic Bishop Richard Lennon said Monday the decision for the Pope to step down was motivated by his love of the church.

Early Monday morning, Pope Benedict XVI announced he will resign his position as Holy Father, effective Feb. 28.

Here is the full statement released by Lennon:

"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' 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 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."

Lennon plans to hold a news conference Monday afternoon to discuss the announcement.

What do you think of the Pope's resignation? Chime in via the comment box below.

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