Calling him a servant with “intelligence, eloquence and … self-sacrifice,” Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput honored Pope Benedict XVI in a statement on Monday.
Benedict announced his plans to resign his station Monday morning, citing fading strength and demands of the job for his decision to step down.
"From his work as a young theologian at Vatican II to his ministry as universal pastor of the Church, Joseph Ratzinger has served God and the global Christian community with intelligence, eloquence and extraordinary self-sacrifice,” Chaput said in a statement.
“As Pope Benedict XVI, he has led God's people through complicated times with uncommon grace, and his stepping down now, at 85, from the burdens of his office is another sign of his placing the needs of the Church above his own,” he said. “Catholics worldwide owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude. He will remain in our hearts and always be in our prayers."
Benedict’s decision to step down marks the first time a Roman Catholic pope has resigned in nearly 600 years.