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Skipton Priest pays tribute to Pope
8:00am Thursday 14th February 2013 in News
A Craven priest, who helped to arrange the papal visit to Britain in 2010, has reacted to the news that the Pope is to stand down at the end of the month.
Pope Benedict XVI, who is 85, announced on Monday that he was stepping down because he was too old and infirm to carry on.
He is the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years.
Monsignor Andrew Summersgill, priest at St Stephen's Church, Skipton, and St Margaret Clitherow, Threshfield, moved to Craven in 2011 after co-ordinating the papal visit.
He said this week: “When he came to the UK in 2010 Pope Benedict surprised many by his gentleness and humility, and at the same time had a clear and strong message.
“Choosing to resign as he recognises that in getting older he no longer the strength to undertake a hugely demanding role on the world stage, he has once again been both surprising and clear.
“He will remain very much in our affection, and in our prayers for a fulfilling retirement after a lifetime of ministry.”
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Leeds, which includes Craven, said the Pope's decision had “come as a surprise to everyone in the Catholic Church and to the whole world".