Anglican leader learned of Pope's decision "with heavy heart"

LONDON Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:27pm IST

Justin Welby, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, waves as stands on the steps with his wife Caroline after a ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral in central London February 4, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Justin Welby, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, waves as stands on the steps with his wife Caroline after a ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral in central London February 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Winning

LONDON (Reuters) - The spiritual head of the world's Anglicans said it was with a "heavy heart" that he learned of Pope Benedict's decision on Monday to step down as pontiff, adding he fully sympathised with the decision.

"It was with a heavy heart but complete understanding that we learned this morning of Pope Benedict's declaration of his decision to lay down the burden of ministry as Bishop of Rome, an office which he has held with great dignity, insight and courage," said Archbishop of Canterbury c, leader of the global 80-million-strong Anglican Communion.

Welby, who only officially took over his role last week after his predecessor Rowan Williams resigned after a decade in the job, said he gave thanks to God for Benedict's life "utterly dedicated, in word and deed, in prayer and in costly service, to following Christ."

"We pray that God will bless him profoundly in retirement with health and peace of mind and heart, and we entrust to the Holy Spirit those who have a responsibility to elect his successor," Welby said in a statement.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

REUTERS SHOWCASE

School Shooting

School Shooting

Two killed, four wounded in Washington state school shooting.  Full Article 

Mideast Crisis

Mideast Crisis

Kurds reject Erdogan report of deal with Syrian rebels to aid besieged Kobani.  Full Article 

Canada Shooting

Canada Shooting

Canada vows tougher laws as citizens worry in face of attacks.  Full Article 

"Unilateral Diktat"

"Unilateral Diktat"

Putin accuses United States of damaging world order.  Full Article 

Nuclear Threat

Nuclear Threat

U.S. general says he believes N. Korea can build nuclear warhead.  Full Article 

Hatchet Attack

Hatchet Attack

NYC police say hatchet attack by Islam convert was terrorism.  Full Article 

Bollywood World

Bollywood World

Read stories and reviews Bollywood films.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage