Louisiana church officials surprised by pope's announcement

Reaction by area church officials to today’s sudden resignation of Pope Benedict has been surprise tinged with admiration.

Lafayette Diocese, Bishop Michael Jarrell:

“The Holy Father’s resignation came as a surprise, although he has hinted at the possibility in the past. This act took great courage and I admire him for it. He will be 86 years old in April; he has served the church well in various offices all of his adult life. It will be difficult to find a replacement who matches him in learning, insight and wisdom. His successor will bring his own gifts and talents to the ancient See of Peter, as the challenge of the implementation of the Decrees of the Second Vatican Council continues to be the primary agenda of the Church.”

Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Bishop Sam G. Jacobs:

“Even though I am saddened by our Holy Father’s decision, I understand how the weight of the office and all the responsibilities that it demands on a daily basis has led him to resign. No doubt after much prayer he has felt that for the good of the church it is best to pass on the baton and let someone younger lead the church at this time. Pope Benedict XVI has left us a legacy and an example of service and leadership, but now he feels that leadership needs to be exercised by someone else. We pray for him, and, at the same time, we also pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the selection of the next pope.”

Archdiocese of New Orleans, Archbishop Gregory Aymond:

“I have a great deal of admiration for Pope Benedict XVI and appreciate his recognition of the health issues he is facing. I admire his humility in asking the cardinals to come together in prayer to select his successor. I ask all Catholics to remember the Holy Father in prayer and to pray for the cardinals as they prepare for the conclave in order to select a successor for Pope Benedict XVI.”

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