Commission for Ecumenism & Interfaith Dialogue

NCCA: Pope Benedict XVI shows courage passing on the mantle of leadership


The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) has written to the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity assuring that it will uphold the Roman Catholic Church in prayer at this time as the news of the resignation of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI is received by the world.

“It is with surprise that we hear the news from the Holy Father recognising that both his poor health and concern for the leadership of the Church has led to the announcement that he will  retire from office on 28 February,” NCCA General Secretary The Reverend Tara Curlewis said.

“This is a time to uphold the Pope’s health in prayer and also the Conclave as it convenes to elect the next Pontiff.”

Ms Curlewis recalled how during the 2008 World Youth Day in Sydney Pope Benedict XVI met with both ecumenical and inter-religious leaders. During his address to ecumenical leaders the Pope said “Every element of the Church’s structure is important, yet all of them would falter and crumble without the cornerstone who is Christ. As “fellow citizens” of the “household of God”, Christians must work together to ensure that the edifice stands strong so that others will be attracted to enter and discover the abundant treasures of grace within”.

“Clearly it is from a place of prayer and discernment as well as his conviction as to the importance of every aspect of the church and particularly the importance of good leadership that has brought Pope Benedict XVI to this momentous decision,” Ms Curlewis said.

“The mantle of leadership can weigh heavy on those to whom it is entrusted and it is never easy to lay it aside. I have much respect for the courage of the Holy Father and along with the church universal will pray for his health and his successor.”

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