The head of the Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville says he’s grateful for Pope Benedict’s spiritual leadership over the past eight years.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz was appointed to his post by Benedict nearly six years ago.
Kurtz says like most everyone, he was taken aback by the pope’s announcement that he will resign, effective at the end of month.
"But I’m not surprised that our Holy Father would be so careful in his charge of leaving the church. I think it’s typical of him as a good steward to be able to say humbly… do you remember what he said when he first started? He said “I’m simply a humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.”
The 85 year old pope says he’s stepping down because of his deteriorating strength. Kurtz says Benedict showed no signs of frailty when he last saw him in October.
Kurtz declined to speculate on any leading candidates to succeed the pope.