The Associated Press

Mass. Catholic Leaders Praise The Resigning Pope Benedict XVI

BOSTON — Massachusetts Catholics are expressing support for Pope Benedict XVI, who made the surprise decision to become the first pope in almost 600 years to resign.

Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley hailed Benedict’s “courage,” and recalled the pope’s meeting in Washington, D.C., in 2008 with Boston-area victims of the clergy sex abuse crisis.

Bishop Robert Deeley, the vicar general of the Boston Archdiocese, on Monday gave thanks for Benedict’s “faithful leadership” in his eight years as pope.

Deeley, who worked directly with the pope in Rome, said Benedict has a “deep and abiding love for the church.”

Ray Flynn, the former Boston mayor and U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, called Benedict a “pious and caring priest.” Flynn called the resignation an “act of sacrifice” to make way for a more “energized” leader. (See below for Flynn’s interview with WBUR.)

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