Archbishop Denis Hart's statement on Pope's retirement
Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Archbishop of Melbourne released the following statement tonight:
'Pope Benedict has announced that because of advanced age and failing strength he is unable to fulfil the heavy demands of office, and in full freedom, he will resign on 28 February.
'After a lifetime of service as an eminent theologian and teacher, he was elected Pope in April 2005. Millions of Catholics are grateful for his holiness and teaching, and are encouraged by his gentle and loving service.
'As he retires to a life of prayer for the Church, we remember with gratitude and prayer his faithfulness to the call given him as Vicar of Christ and chief pastor of the universal Church.'