Pope's shock resignation

Pope Benedict XVI is to step down, the Vatican has confirmed.

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Archbishop of Cardiff asks Wales to 'keep Pope Benedict in their prayers'

The Most Reverend George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff released this statement:

I share the surprise of people all over the world at the news of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI from the Petrine Office. I am sure that many will recognise it to be a decision of great courage and humility, made with characteristic clarity of mind and action.

I ask people of faith both within the Catholic Church and outside it to keep Pope Benedict in their prayers. Although physical frailty has caused him to make this decision, his spiritual strength continues to witness to his faith and in the Lord Jesus whom he has served so faithfully throughout his life.

– The Most Reverend George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff

'This must have been a very difficult decision' - Former Welsh Secretary on Pope's resignation

Former Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy is a Papal Knight of Saint Gregory, an honour bestowed on him by the previous Pope John Paul II. He's just issued this statement:

I was surprised to hear of Pope Benedict’s resignation today. Pope Benedict XVI is a formidable theologian and leader and I am confident that he has come to this decision after much consideration.

This must have been a very difficult decision for the Pope and is unprecedented in modern times. Pope Benedict XVI is a man of huge spirituality and deep faith, and all Christians have respected his stand on moral issues. I pray that the church will find a worthy successor.

Pope Benedict to step down

Pope Benedict holds the book of the gospels as he leads the Christmas night mass last year Credit: Reuters

The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Benedict will resign on February 28, according to Reuters.

The media agency also reported that in a statement Pope Benedict said his strength is no longer adequate to continue in office due to his advanced ages.

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