Bishop Bransfield says Pope picks perfect time for announcement
Pope Benedict XVI
February 11, 2013 ·
The bishop of West Virginia's Catholic diocese says the leader of his church is showing great love and devotion to the church by stepping down from the papacy at this time.
Bishop Michael Bransfield of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston says Pope Benedict XVI is making the decision at the perfect time, as the season of Lent is about to begin for the Roman Catholic church.
"With Lent forthcoming, a transition in the papacy can be accomplished before Easter, before spring," Bransfield said in a statement.
Pope Benedict has been the leader of the Catholic Church since 2005, following the death of former Pope John Paul II. Benedict says he's stepping down because his health is no longer allowing him to perform his duties properly.
"The Holy Father is being realistic about his physical limitations at this time in his life. I admire him for his courage and humility," Bransfield said.
Pope Benedict is 85 years old.
The last time a pope stepped down before his death was nearly 600 years ago.