Bishop Paul Swain responds to Pope's resignation - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Bishop Paul Swain responds to Pope's resignation

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Monday morning, Pope Benedict XVI shocked many around the globe when he announced his decision to resign at the end of the month.

It's the first time in more than 600 years that a Pope has stepped down. The 85 year-old said his strength deteriorated "to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me."

"He feels he's carried the cross to the point that he can and is very calm in conscience that ok, now I'm going to pass it on," Vatican Communications Director Greg Burke said.

Benedict's nearly eight-year tenure was one of the shortest in Catholic history. The announcement is generating all sorts of reaction from Catholics. People here in Sioux Falls, like anywhere else, are surprised and shocked at this news.

Parishioners attending mass at the St. Joseph's Cathedral, downtown, say the news is still fresh on their minds. Next door, Bishop Paul Swain of the Sioux Falls Diocese says he, like many of the parishioners, is surprised. Above all, he's happy for the Pope.

While the resignation is one of joy, to a certain degree, it's also one of sadness.

"Sadness, in a sense, that I've been working for my spiritual father for six years and I won't be anymore, yet his impact will continue. From that standpoint it's bittersweet for me personally," Bishop Paul Swain said.

Read the Bishop's full statement below:

It is with sadness yet with gratitude that I acknowledge the decision by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, to resign from office. The Holy Spirit, who guided his election in 2005, surely has guided his decision now, and will guide the election of his successor.

A teacher at heart, Pope Benedict XVI has, through written and spoken word, but especially by faithful witness, taught us to contemplate the higher things and to defend truth. He has always done so with integrity, humility and a special love for those most vulnerable. His courageous act today is but another example of his having the heart of a gentle shepherd protecting his flock.

I am especially grateful to him for having appointed me as Bishop of Sioux Falls. On behalf of all the faithful of our diocese we wish His Holiness a prayerful and peaceful retirement. Our prayer for him in the days ahead is that offered at the ordination of a bishop: May God, who has begun the good work in you, bring it to fulfillment.

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