Like many people throughout the world, I was shocked and saddened to hear of the decision by Pope Benedict XVI to resign. I know that his decision will have been considered most carefully and that it has come after much prayer and reflection.
I will offer my prayers for Pope Benedict and call on the Catholic community of Scotland to join me in praying for him at this time of deterioration in his health as he recognises his incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to him.
I hope I will also be able to rely on the prayers of Catholics across the world for the Cardinal Electors as we prepare to travel to Rome in order to participate in the conclave, which will be convoked to elect a successor as Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff.
So, we're all shocked at the resignation of the Pope, but what happens next?
Pope Benedict XVI has made the announcement that he will resign as the head of the Roman Catholic Church due to his "advanced age."
Who will follow in Pope Benedict's footsteps? Is it time for an African pope?