Statement from Archbishop Wilson on Pope Benedict XVI

Archbishop Philip Wilson

The decision of Pope Benedict XVI to resign on February 28 comes as a great shock to the people of the Adelaide Archdiocese and, indeed, to the rest of the world.

As its spiritual leader, Pope Benedict has steered the Catholic Church through extremely challenging times and he has done so with great grace and humility. His announcement yesterday is further testament to his unselfish commitment to the Church and its future.

On a personal note, I have been fortunate to meet Pope Benedict on several occasions as a bishop and in my former role as President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. I have always found him to be very humble and kind-hearted.

His insightful writings and teachings on theology and current issues affecting the Church will have a lasting impact, as will his leadership in the area of ecumenicism.

As South Australians, we will always hold a special place in our hearts for Pope Benedict for conferring the canonisation of our nation’s first saint, Mary of the Cross MacKillop. We also remember fondly his visit to Australia for World Youth Day in 2008.

We pray for the Pope as he concludes his papacy over the next two weeks and continues to serve God through a life dedicated to prayer.