Archbishop William E. Lori, 16th Archbishop of Baltimore, the nation’s oldest Catholic diocese, issued the following statement during a press conference in Baltimore earlier today after learning of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
Let me begin with words of appreciation for Pope Benedict XVI and his leadership of the Roman Catholic Church for these past eight years. His Holiness is a profound and loving teacher of the faith, a courageous defender of human rights and dignity, and a man of prayer, humility, and wisdom.
When I received the Pallium last June and again when I met with him six weeks ago, he expressed his affection for the Archdiocese of Baltimore and his appreciation of its history as the first and oldest Archdiocese in the United States.
This morning I spoke with Cardinal O’Brien, my predecessor. He was, of course, present for Pope Benedict’s momentous announcement and asked me to remember him to you.
My single task this morning is to request the prayers of the faithful of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and all women and men of good will for Pope Benedict as he concludes his long and loving service to the Church. I also ask prayers for the Church herself as preparations are made for the election of Pope Benedict’s successor.