"The Holy Father’s resignation came as a surprise, although he has hinted at the possibility in the past. This act took great courage and I admire him for it.
" He will be 86 years old in April; he has served the Church well in various offices all of his adult life. It will be difficult to find a replacement who matches him in learning, insight and wisdom.
"His successor will bring his own gifts and talents to the ancient See of Peter, as the challenge of the implementation of the Decrees of the Second Vatican Council continues to be the primary agenda of the Church."