Bishop Richard Lennon Says Pope Benedict's Resignation Is Unexpected, But Not Surprising

Bishop Richard Lennon (Photo by Bill Rice)
Bishop Richard Lennon (Photo by Bill Rice)
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Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon says he is not surprised that Pope Benedict has decided to resign at the end of February. ideastream's Bill Rice reports.

Lennon says he first got wind of the announcement that the Pope would resign at breakfast Monday, just after 6 am. He says while the news was unexpected, he is not surprised, given comments Benedict has made in recent years about the ability to carry on, and his difficulties in celebrating the mass at St. Peters this past Christmas.

Lennon says he did not know Benedict well, but met with him about a year ago with other Ohio bishops to discuss church matters in the state and the nation. He said Benedict's legacy will be one of great dedication to the church and its teachings, and an ability to respond with what Lennon calls a "pastoral heart."

Lennon: "That's really what we experienced last November when the bishops of Ohio were with him for those 40 minutes. And he was very engaged and was always looking for what would be for the good of the people. And that wasn't an abstraction, it was the very real impact that people were experiencing."

Lennon calls Benedict's resignation an historic event, and one motivated by his love of the church. He says he has no idea how the process of selecting the next pope will play out.

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