[World Council of Churches] The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI has brought words of respect and appreciation from the general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.
“We have to respect fully the decision of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to resign,” Tveit said from New York this morning where he is visiting the WCC United Nation office. “With deep respect I have seen how he has carried the responsibility and burdens of his ministry in his advanced age, in a very demanding time for the church.”
“I express my appreciation for his love and commitment to the church and to the ecumenical movement,” Tveit added.
“Let us pray that God bless him in this moment and this phase of his life, and that God will guide and bless the Roman Catholic Church in a very important time of transition.”
“Pope Benedict knows the WCC well,” Tveit said, referring to the time in the late 1960s and early 1970s when as a professor of theology at the University of Tuebingen, Germany, he was a member of the WCC Faith and Order Commission.
Benedict first announced his decision in a meeting of cardinals at the Vatican on Monday, 11 February. His deteriorating health was cited as the reason for him to step down from his post as of the end of February.
The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway.