PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence says he is stunned by the news that Pope Benedict XVI will resign on Feb. 28.
Bishop Thomas Tobin on Monday says he believes the 85-year-old pope’s decision is an act of humility that puts the needs of the church above the pontiff’s own.
Benedict’s announcement means he will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. The Vatican stressed that no specific medical condition prompted Benedict’s decision, although he says he lacks the strength to fulfill his duties.
Tobin calls Benedict a man of great wisdom and holiness who has given his heart, mind, soul and strength to the difficult task of leading the church.
Rhode Island is one of the nation’s most Catholic states.