PRESS RELEASE: Catholics United Statement on Pope Benedict XVI’s Announcement of Resignation

Posted February 11, 2013

WASHINGTON – Catholics United Executive Director James Salt made the following statement today upon hearing Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement he will resign effective Feb. 28:

“Today’s surprising announcement from Pope Benedict XVI is a sign of humility from the aging Holy Father. In light of his decision, we must take the opportunity to reflect on the challenges of this papacy. To many, the Catholic church hierarchy has been seen as an institution overly focused on issues of human sexuality, such as opposition to access to birth control and marriage equality, rather than first serving the poor as Christ commanded.

“The next pope has a unique opportunity to radically shift the agenda of the church. Increasingly, the Catholic church is one that represents interests far removed from Europe or North America. The cardinals can and should consider opening their horizons toward a successor from the global south, such as Latin America or Africa, whose experience represents a vastly different worldview than many church leaders.

“Catholics know the heavy burden of the papacy is wrought with challenges. The next pope will have to face the greatest moral challenge of our day: the imminent threat of global climate change and its effect on the poorest. He must protect and expand equality and the role of women and those affected by oppression. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, he must dedicate himself to protecting the least among us, especially children, who have been affected by the shameful scourge of abuse.

“We pray the next pope has the wisdom to lead us in a bold direction toward hope and unity, and away from oppression and division.”

Salt is available for comment or appearances today.

Founded in 2004, Catholics United, and its educational arm, Catholics United Education Fund, are non-profit, non-partisan organizations dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition.

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