Washington D.C., Feb 28, 2013 / 17:02 pm
American Catholic political officials and commentators have solemnly expressed their appreciation and prayers for Pope Benedict XVI as his resignation goes into effect.
“The United States sends its best wishes to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI as he leaves the Vatican after years of service and dedication to God, the Catholic Church, and world peace,” said newly-instated U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
In a statement released on the eve of the Holy Father’s retirement, Kerry added that he anticipates further cooperation with the Holy See.
“As the papal conclave assembles, I look forward to continuing our important relationship with the Vatican and working with the new pope to foster dialogue and promote human rights and human dignity throughout the world,” he said.
“On this day, I keep Pope Benedict in my prayers and wish him well as he enters into retirement.”
On Feb. 28, at 8 p.m. in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI stepped down from the papacy. He had announced his intended resignation on Feb. 11, citing his advanced age and declining strength.
The Chair of Peter will be vacant until the cardinals elect a new pope in a gathering set to begin in early March.
Former ambassador Johnny Young, who currently serves as executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Department of Migration and Refugee Services, also commented on the Pope’s retirement.