New Zealand Bishops react with surprise and understanding at news of Pope’s resignation

It was with some sadness that New Zealand Catholic Bishops woke to the news that Pope Benedict XVI is to resign from his papacy at the end of the month.

“While we are sad that his papacy is coming to an end, we understand the humility, prayer and reflection that will have been behind this decision to step down owing to frailty,” said Archbishop John Dew, President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.

“We offer the Pope our assurance that we will continue to pray for him. We will also pray for our Cardinals who will, faithfully and prayerfully, elect a successor,” Archbishop Dew said.

“His resignation while unusual, does reflect the pace and workload that this special ministry requires especially in our modern age. He will be thought of as a Pope who was faithful and humble in his papacy and in his decision to step down when age and frailty mean he is unable to continue,” Archbishop Dew said.

“As a great theologian and writer he has at times expressed his desire to spend more time writing and in study, we hope that he has the opportunity to do this in retirement and continue to make a valuable contribution in this way,”

“The Pope is the shepherd of the Church around the world, this is a demanding and challenging ministry, we pray at this time for Pope Benedict’s successor and for the future of the Catholic Church and its leadership.” Archbishop Dew said.

Click here to read the full text of the announcement from Pope Benedict XVI