From:                              Zach Summers

Sent:                               Monday, February 11, 2013 10:01 AM

To:                                   Diocese of Birmingham; Diocesan Priests (Pastors, Associate Pastors, Priests & Administrators); Diocesan Deacons; Diocese Catholic School Principals

Subject:                          Statement of Bishop Robert J. Baker on the Impending Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI


Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement today of his pending resignation on February 28th caught the Catholic world completely by surprise.  There were no hints of his intention to do so.


On the one hand, I greet the news with sadness because of my great admiration and respect for Pope Benedict and his leadership of our Church the past eight years.  At the same time, I understand fully his concern over his health and the stamina required to meet the heavy demands of his role as Vicar of Jesus Christ and Successor of St. Peter.  I join the Universal Church in extending our gratitude to our Holy Father for his remarkable pastoral leadership carried out with profound wisdom, great calm, and immense compassion for all his flock and for the entire world.


We are especially grateful for his consistent defense of the sanctity of human life, his outreach to the poor and marginalized, and his scholarly articulation of the clear relationship between faith and reason.  In a world beset by a degradation of the value of the human person and a growing loss of moral values in our society, Pope Benedict has joined religious leaders of all faiths in calling for a drastic change in our moral values.


I ask the Catholic Community of the Diocese of Birmingham to join me in prayer for the cardinals who will be gathered in conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.  As we do so, we have great confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit to guide those Electors in choosing the man most qualified to continue representing the face of Christ and his message as our Holy Father, the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church throughout the world.



A prayer for the cardinals gathered in conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI’s successor will be forthcoming from the Bishop’s office.