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Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley published the following statement Feb. 11 on the pope's resignation:
"The Catholic community and the world today learned that Pope Benedict XVI, following deep prayer and reflection, announced that he will resign the papacy at the end of this month. We join the universal Church in offering prayerful gratitude for the Holy Father's faith, courage and his leadership as the successor of Peter.
At this time it is appropriate for the Church and all people of good faith to reflect on Pope Benedict's legacy and achievements. He brought unique capabilities to the papacy as a highly qualified scholar and teacher, and as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in service to Blessed John Paul II. His fidelity to maintaining the truth and clarity of the Catholic faith, to cultivating ecumenical and interfaith dialogue and in reaching out to inspire the next generation of Catholics have been great gifts to us all.
It was a great privilege for me to be present as Pope Benedict met with survivors of clergy sexual abuse during his visit to the United States in April 2008. At that meeting the Holy Father's pastoral care for the survivors was clearly evident, as was his commitment and determination to heal the wounds of all persons impacted by the abuse crisis and to insure that the Church continues to do all that is possible to provide for the protection of children.
During the coming weeks we will continue to pray for Pope Benedict XVI and will call upon the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit as the Church moves forward to choose the next successor to Saint Peter."