Archbishop of Glasgow hails 'unprecedented time for the Church'

President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia has commended the "gentle and humble" listening Pope, following his retirement announcement.

My immediate thoughts were that I would miss him enormously. On a personal note he was the Pope who appointed me as a Bishop, first in Paisley and then last year he asked me to become Archbishop of Glasgow.

While I was Bishop of Paisley, I had 15 minutes alone with him to present my five-yearly report on the life of the local Church and I remember being struck by his great kindness - he was so gentle and humble, preferring to listen to me rather than speak himself.

When he came to Scotland, I had the privilege of seeing him off at Glasgow Airport. He was clearly pleased, and a little relieved I think, with the first day of his visit to Great Britain and he took my hand in his, and said, in Italian: “Si vede che quì la Chiesa è viva” - It’s clear that the Church is alive here.

As we look to the immediate future we recognise that this is an unprecedented time for the Church. No Pope has resigned since Celestine V in the 13th century.

My prayer today is for Pope Benedict XVI and for the man who will succeed him, and I would ask all Catholics to join with me in that prayer. God bless our Pope.

– Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland

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