Pope’s resignation reminds us that office is not essentially about power and the exercise of authority, but rather about ministry and service: AEC - Feb 11

Following is the statement issued by Archbishop Patrick Pinder of Nassau, Bahamas, the president of the Antilles Episcopal Conference, following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The people of our region, like Catholics around the world, are surprised to learn of the decision of Pope Benedict XVI to renounce the office of Bishop of Rome. Surely a Pope can resign, but it has not happened in centuries.

We the Bishops of the Antilles Episcopal Conference greet this news with some degree of sadness. We have fond memories of our group and individual meetings with him during our last "ad limina" visit in 2008.

His warm and serene personality, his profound erudition coupled with his gift for clarity and simplicity of expression and his gentle character all endeared him to us.

We understand the basis of his decision, namely his declining physical health. Indeed his less than agile gait has been apparent for some time.

The decision of Benedict XVI is one of great courage. It is also a profound lesson to is all. It reminds us most forcefully that office in the Church, even the highest office, is not essentially about power and the exercise of authority. Rather it is essentially about ministry and service. We give praise and thanks to God for the petrine ministry of Benedict XVI.

As we now continue our journey through the Year of Faith and as we begin our lenten journey, let us pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance. Let pray that the Holy Spirit continue to guide and inspire the Church as we prepare for the election of the next Successor of St. Peter. Like Benedict XVI may he shepherd us wisdom, courage and humility.

Most. Reverend Patrick C. Pinder

Archbishop of Nassau

President, Antilles Episcopal Conference


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