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W.Va. bishop addresses pope's announcement

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WHEELING, W.Va.—The following statement from Bishop Michael Bransfield was provided just after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation this morning:

"By announcing his resignation today, Pope Benedict XVI is showing the great love and devotion he has for the Church, specifically his devotion to Christ our savior," said Most Reverend Michael J. Bransfield, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

"The Holy Father is being realistic about his physical limitations at this time in his life.  I admire him for his courage and humility," Bransfield said.

Although the Pope's resignation was very sudden, Bransfield said that "we always trust in the Holy Spirit and ultimately, because the upcoming Lenten season is a deeply spiritual time for Catholics, we must continue to have great trust in the Holy Spirit during this period of transition in our Church."

Bransfield continued by saying that Benedict has chosen a perfect time for his announcement.  "With Lent forthcoming, a transition in the papacy can be accomplished before Easter, before spring."

Bishop Bransfield will preside over Mass today Feb. 11 at 12:05 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling.  The Mass will be streamed live at www.dwc.org.

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