ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The St. Louis Archdiocese issued a statement Monday morning in reaction to news that Pope Benedict XVI would resign at the end of the month.

“The people of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis and Catholics around the world learned today that our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation effective February 28, 2013, because of advanced age and declining health,” the statement began. “He made this surprise announcement to the Cardinals in Rome earlier this morning.”

“In this Year of Faith, we pray for the Holy Father and offer him our fraternal support. We have been blessed by his leadership in boldly proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and challenging us all to draw close to Christ,” the statement reads. “We also begin our prayer for the Cardinals of the Church as they prepare to go to Rome to elect a successor.”

“I’m as startled as the rest of you and as anxious to find out exactly what’s going on,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, said on NBC’s TODAY Show this morning. “Except for prayer, I don’t know what else to do. I’ll await instruction with everyone else.” He added that the resignation left him “kind of somber.”

“Boy, I love this pope,” the cardinal said. “The world looks to him with respect and affection.”


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