12-February-2013 -- EWTNews Feature |

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Bishops of Spain thank Holy Father for 'invaluable service'

Reacting to news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation from the papacy, the bishops of Spain expressed profound gratitude to the pontiff and exhorted the faithful to pray for him.

In a statement, the bishops thanked the Pope for the "invaluable service he has given to the Holy Church in these intense years of his pontificate."

On Feb. 11, the Holy Father announced that he would be retiring at the end of the month. Pointing to his advanced age and deteriorating strength, he said that he could no longer fulfill the demands of his ministry adequately.

The Spanish bishops explained that the decision left them "moved" and filled "with sadness."

In addition, they said that they "feel like orphans" at the Pope's announcement, "because we felt secure and enlightened by his very rich magisterium and his paternal closeness."

"At the same time, we accept the will of the Holy Father with filial reverence," they added. "We are certain that the Lord will bless the difficult step that he has just taken with abundant graces for the new Pope and for the entire Church."

"We ask all the faithful to commend our beloved Pope Benedict XVI to the Lord, that He may grant him comfort and strength to continue serving the Church in a new way as long as Providence allows," the bishops said.

They also asked for prayers that the election of the new Pope "will be guided and illuminated by the strength of the Holy Spirit."

Throughout the transition that lies ahead, they explained, the faithful can rest in the "secure confidence that the Lord is always with his Church."

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/World.php?id=7014#ixzz2Kv60sIj8

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