Reaction to Pope Benedict's plans to retire was widespread. Here is a sampling of it:
"At this point in his life, the Holy Father felt that he was no longer physically capable of carrying out this task and all the tasks required of the Petrine ministry. His announcement only increases my admiration for his deep love of the church, all the faithful, all humanity. The Holy Father will always remain in my heart. It was he who brought me back here to Pittsburgh. I had numerous opportunities to meet with him, and I always found him a caring and gentle shepherd."
-- Bishop David Zubik, Pittsburgh
Bishop Zubik talks about Pope Benedict's decision to resign
Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he would resign on Feb. 28, the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik offers reaction. (Video by Kalea Hall; 2/11/2013)
"Raised in the midst of the horrors of Nazism and World War II, he has spent his life teaching the word of God as the response to the evil, godless secularism he saw in Nazism and communism. He has always been focused on the eternal truths of the gospel of our lord and savior Jesus Christ."
-- Bishop Lawrence Brandt of Greensburg, who said he was deeply saddened by the pope's plan to resign but praised his efforts to battle moral relativism
"[He] brought the tender heart of a pastor, the incisive mind of a scholar and the confidence of a soul united with his God in all he did ... Those who met him, heard him speak and read his clear, profound writings found themselves moved and changed. In all he said and did, he urged people everywhere to know and have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ."
-- Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
"He leaves hundreds of culpable bishops in power and a culture of secrecy intact."
-- Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, which tracks bishops' responses to complaints of sexual abuse by priests, who faulted him for not removing bishops who had failed to remove and publicize predators
His decision shows "the great humility of this pope and his love of the church. When we go into the conclave, what has ... to be uppermost in the minds and heart of all of us is what is God asking of us? That is going to be the only consideration."
-- Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., former bishop of Pittsburgh
"While Pope Benedict's resignation is certainly unexpected, it is yet one more sign of the strong leadership he has exhibited throughout his papacy. It takes a particular kind of wisdom to know when to step down and a wonderful humility to do so."
-- The Rev. Terence Henry, TOR, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville
"The church feels today a special need to thank Benedict XVI for his rich and fruitful magisterium and also for his humble and generous example of service to the church and the world. In this singular moment in the church's history, the faithful of the prelature -- priests and laity -- are praying for Benedict XVI and all his intentions. And united to the pope and the entire church, we are asking the Holy Spirit to pour out his grace in abundance on the people of God and its pastors."
-- Bishop Javier Echevarría, prelate of Opus Dei