BISMARCK, N.D. (Feb. 11, 2013) – Amid the announcement of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI this morning, the Most Reverend Bishop of Bismarck David Kagan said he is “not just surprised, but saddened” by the announcement.
“I was a bit startled to find out on the news that our Holy Father announced today at the Vatican that at the end of this very month of February he plans to resign his Petrine ministry as Bishop of Rome and as pope of the universal Catholic Church,” Kagan said. “Since Pope Benedict XVI is the one who appointed me to be a bishop of the Church, I’m saddened that this has taken place. But, it gives all of us a great sense of peace and hope that ultimately it is Almighty God, the Holy Spirit, who inspires and guides all of us, beginning with the Holy Father. God will continue to do this and inspire the College of Cardinals to elect a worthy and capable successor to Pope Benedict XVI, who has certainly showed himself to be a worthy and capable successor not just to John Paul II, but to our first pope, Saint Peter.
“I think we need to take our Holy Father’s announcement and the reasons he gave much to heart. The Holy Father, as we know, lives a very rigorous and public life. His schedule is quite grueling,” he said, noting that Blessed John Paul II was 58 years old when he was elected pope in 1978 while Benedict XVI had just celebrated his 78th birthday before his election in April 2005.
“It’s a great testimony not only to Pope Benedict’s holiness and his humility, but to the regard and the esteem that he has for the office of the pope; that he is more than willing to give up this ministry so that someone younger and in more robust physical health can take over and lead the Church as he himself knows the Church needs to be guided by its chief shepherd, the Vicar of Christ on Earth,” Kagan commented.
Kagan urged the faithful to join in prayer for Pope Benedict and the universal Catholic Church.
“We have every confidence that it is God who guides us,” he said. “God has promised us that He remains with us and it is God, the Holy Spirit, who will guide us in this period of change.”