Bishop Michael O. Jackels talked about the courage it took for Pope Benedict XVI to announce his pending resignation at a news conference Monday afternoon in the Chancery in Wichita. Bishop Jackels said when he woke up Monday morning and read about the resignation at a church website, he then turned on the television to confirm the news because he thought it was a joke. “It’s not been done for about 600 years,” he told television and print reporters after reading a statement in his conference room. “It was a courageous thing for him to do and I think that it was the right thing to do,” he said. “I’m happy for him.” Bishop Jackels explained that bishops are required by church law to tender their resignations at age 75.
“The reasoning is that the demands of the ministry would be more than somebody of that age might be able to handle,” he said. “Well, if you consider, I’m the bishop of Wichita and he’s the bishop of Rome, which means that he is also pastor of the universal church – the same notion is there. You advance in age and your strength and mental sharpness decreases but the demands of that kind of worldwide ministry don’t decrease but rather increase.” Bishop Jackels said it was appropriate for Pope Benedict to resign, not because he wants the pope to leave, but out of a concern for what the church needs to continue this ministry in the world today. The impact of the historic announcement has been obvious, he said. “People are asking, ‘Are we going to have a prayer service?’” Bishop Jackels said, “Because normally when you learn the news that you’re not going to have a pope it means because he’s passed away. So people are just not sure what to make of this and how to respond to it.” Bishop Jackels said the time leading up to the pope’s resignation will be a time of prayer. “There are a lot of people who are concerned about who’s going to be the next Pope,” he said, adding that he’s not too concerned about it. “There’s a saying in the Vatican that those who go in as ‘capable,’ meaning those who are eligible (or likely) to be elected pope, they come out cardinals,” Bishop Jackels said. “So, who knows. I’m not concerned about who the next pope would be. The Holy Spirit is running the ship. We will receive the leader that we need. It may not be the one that each one of us might have chosen, but it’s the one we need with the particular gifts…that are needed at this time.”
Statement by Michael O. Jackels regarding the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI
Catholics all over the world woke up to the surprising news, that Pope Benedict XVI has decided of his own free will to resign at the end of this month from his ministry as the Bishop of Rome and Pastor of the universal Church. His decision to resign was made out of his care for the Catholic Church, thinking himself, due to age, not up to the physical and intellectual demands of his ministry. We are grateful to Pope Benedict for his long and exemplary priestly ministry, especially for his service as the Successor to Saint Peter, the first Pope. Our prayers are with the Holy Father as he prepares for this transition and the new circumstances of his life. Our prayers are also with the College of Cardinals as preparations are made to elect the new Pope. We pray that God the Holy Spirit will guide them to choose a Pastor after the heart of Jesus, and one who has the physical, intellectual and spiritual strength to walk in the shoes of the fisherman.