4-March-2013 -- EWTNews Feature |

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Spanish bishops hail Pope emeritus as model of service

Numerous bishops in Spain have thanked Pope emeritus Benedict XVI for his exemplary service to the Church during his nearly eight-year pontificate.

Benedict XVI's recent decision to retire emphasizes that "the Church does not depend on the strategies of man but on God," said Archbishop Javier Martinez of Granada, adding that "Christians should be thankful for the heroic generosity of the Pope in service to the Lord and his Church."

Archbishop Juan Jose Asenjo of Seville added the Pope's decision showed "his humility, his love for the Church, the greatness of his soul and his generosity."

Bishop Mario Iceta of Bilbao underscored the courage and absolute freedom with which the Pope emeritus exercised his ministry, to the point that he did not hesitate when realizing that he should resign for the good of the Church.

The decision to step down was a "beautiful gesture of humility by the Holy Father," commented Archbishop Francisco Gil Hellin of Burgos, who encouraged the faithful to pray for Benedict XVI.

The Spanish bishops added to the choir of Church leaders who have voiced gratitude and affection since Benedict XVI announced his resignation on Feb. 11. The resignation went into effect on Feb. 28, and the cardinals will soon gather in Rome to elect a new Pontiff.

In Salamanca, Bishop Carlos Lopez Hernandez offered a special Mass of thanksgiving for the Pope emeritus on March 2 at the local cathedral.

The Holy Father's decision to resign "is reminiscent of the action of John the Baptist, who pointed Jesus out and then disappeared, as he 'was not the light, but rather a witness to the light,'" the bishop said.

"It was an example of humility and gospel wisdom so necessary today in the life of the Church and our society," he explained.

Bishop Jesus Murgui Soriano of Orihuela-Alicante issued a letter thanking Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI for his service to the Church.

"Most certainly you have confirmed us in the faith and led us in charity," he wrote.

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/World.php?id=7158#ixzz2Mc9qTv8f

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