House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to retire at age 85 showed “extraordinary humility.”
Boehner, a German-Irish Catholic with 11 siblings, issued a heartfelt statement after the announcement this morning.
“The prayers and gratitude of American Catholics are with Pope Benedict XVI today. The Holy Father’s decision displays extraordinary humility and love for the Church, two things that have been the hallmarks of his service,” Boehner said.
“Americans were inspired by his visit to the United States in 2008, and by his quiet, steady leadership of the Church in uncertain times,” he continued. “People of all nations have been blessed by the sacrifices he has made to sow the seeds of hope, justice, and compassion throughout the world in the name of Our Lord and Savior.”
“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” Benedict said in his announcement.
There’s been no statement issued yet by President Obama or Vice President Joe Biden, who often speaks of being Catholic. There’s also no reaction yet from the State Department, which maintains an embassy at the Holy See and now is led by John Kerry, another Catholic.
UPDATE: From Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — “Today Pope Benedict XVI displayed the qualities of an excellent leader and a true man of God by putting the interests of the Vatican and the Catholic Church over his own papacy. Since becoming Pope in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI has served the Church honorably, particularly through his work promoting charity across the globe. I wish him well in the future and, as a Catholic, I thank him for his service to God and the Church. I also look with optimism toward the future of the Catholic Church as it prepares to welcome a new leader and as it continues to spread God’s message of faith, hope and love to all the corners of the world.”