My dear People of God,
On Monday night, we received the news of Pope Benedict’s intention to resign the ministry of Bishop of Rome. We are saddened at his impending departure from his role as Supreme Pontiff.
At the same time, we are full of gratitude to God for the wondrous blessings that have been ours because of his extraordinary leadership.
Pope Benedict has announced that because of advanced age and failing strength, he is unable to fulfil the heavy demands of office, and in full freedom, he will resign on 28 February.
We have grown to love and admire him, and so are marked today with sadness at his impending departure from his role as Supreme Pontiff.
With admiration we acknowledge the courageous witness of life and marvellous clarity of thought that have marked his many dedicated years of service as priest and bishop, teacher and writer, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and, especially, as Pastor of the Universal Church.
We express our heartfelt thanks for the entire gift he has made of himself for the good of the Church.
His decision to resign arises, we know, out of his love for the Church. It is an act of faith. We thank him especially for his eight years of selfless leadership as Successor of Peter.
We know that his decision will have been considered most carefully and that it has come after much prayer and reflection.
We pray that God will bless him profoundly in retirement with health and peace of mind and entrust to the Holy Spirit the Cardinal Electors who will participate in the conclave, which will be convoked to elect a successor as Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff.
Archbishop Nicholas Chia