Today we join Catholics and all people of good will in thanking His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, for the gift of his ministry to the church and the world.
Though this morning's announcement of his resignation was a surprise, we can surely understand and admire the pope's courage in facing his frailties. His humility and concern for the people he has pastored are a sign of great love for the church.
Throughout his life, he has been a defender of the truth and a voice for the poor. He has been an advocate for peace among nations as well as a promoter of respect for God's creation in nature. His writings have moved us and his words have inspired us.
On a personal level, I am particularly grateful to Pope Benedict for his having appointed me to serve here as Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
To our Holy Father, I join with the people of this diocese in offering our prayers and best wishes during these last days of his pontificate and for a tranquil retirement.
We also ask that the Holy Spirit guide the church in the coming weeks as we prepare for the election of the new pope.
Thank you.After reading his statement, Bishop Paprocki answered questions from the local media. I will post more on this either late tonight or tomorrow morning.