DETROIT (WWJ) – The leader of the Catholic church is “retiring” … so how does that affect Catholic leaders in Detroit.

WWJ’s Mike Campbell spoke to Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and said that like many Catholics he was shocked by the news the 83-year-old pope is resigning on February 28.

“Like so many, very, very surprised by this announcement. Sad to all of us a spiritual father,” he said.

Archbishop Vigneron noted that he and the pope are not exactly on a first name basis.

“The Holy Father and I are not ‘buds’ but I do feel a bond with him and I have always felt a lot of support when I’ve ever been in his presence,” he said. “The Holy Father has been urging all of us to be young again and to re-present the good news of Jesus. I think that is very much one of the things that we will remember him for.”

He said he found out about the resignation via the internet; his secretary told him to read his email.

Many wonder what part of the world the next pope will come from: “I certainly would not be surprised if we were to have a priest from Latin American.”

But the archbishop said that does not rule out a priest from Asia, Africa, or even North America.

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron’s full statement:

Like most of my fellow-Catholics I woke this morning to the very surprising news that Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI is resigning his service as the successor of St. Peter. Quickly after the surprise followed sadness, a sense of grief at losing his fatherly care for all us, bishops, clergy, and faithful. We have come to love him very much and will miss him.

Most of us know in our own personal lives what it means to see a parent grow old and decline in ability. That is the sense we bring to this announcement. Our spiritual father has determined, by the best light given to him in prayer, that for the good of us all he must lay down his office.

It was with the support of our daily prayers that Pope Benedict passed his years in the Chair of Peter and has come to this point. I invite all Catholics to pray all the more ardently for the Holy Father Pope Benedict, that God sustain him in these last weeks of his papacy and guide him through what lies ahead. And we look to the future with confidence, that the Lord who has given us this great pope and loving father, will give us a new shepherd of equal merit.

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron
Archbishop of Detroit
11 February 2013


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