In a statement on his website, the new head of the Anglican Communion Justin Welby has thanked the Pope for being a messenger of hope at a time when the Christian faith is being called into question.
Describing him as “a witness to the universal scope of the gospel”, Justin Welby, the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury said that it was with a heavy heart but complete understanding that he learned this morning of Pope Benedict’s declaration of his decision to lay down the burden of ministry as Bishop of Rome, which he has held with great dignity, insight and courage.
And speaking for all Anglicans, he urged the world to join him in giving thanks to God for a priestly life utterly dedicated, in word and deed, in prayer and in costly service, to following Christ.
He also prayed that God will bless him in his retirement with health and peace of mind and heart with optimism that the Holy Spirit will guide the process to elect his successor.
Archbishop of York John Sentamu says the Christian world will miss a great theologian with great spiritual depth with the resignation of the Pope adding “We should remember Pope Benedict communicated the revelation of God in a characteristic way as a true successor of St Peter. He was unafraid to proclaim the Gospel and challenge a culture that is so self-referential, managing to lift our eyes to God’s glory.