FRESNO, Calif. - In response to today's announcement of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, Most Rev. Armando X. Ochoa, Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno stated:
“As with many of the one billion Catholics worldwide, the timing of the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI resignation caught us all by surprise. However, his avocation of the papacy didn’t necessarily do so. As early as two years ago he made it quite clear that the resignation of a Pope was always on the table. I last saw the 85-year-old Pope Benedict in mid-April of last year, and he indeed appeared fragile during the Ad Limina Visit with our California Bishops. I invite all our Catholics to keep him in our prayers, as well as the 120 Cardinals who will be in Conclave sometime in March to elect the new Vicar of Christ.”
Pope Benedict XVI, 85, announced Monday that he would resign Feb. 28, emphasizing that carrying out the duties of being pope requires "both strength of mind and body."
Pope Benedict XVI is the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years.