News and Messages

In this section you will find reactions, comments and messages in response to the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI's decision to renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, effective from 28 February 2013 at 20:00 hours (Rome time).

In this section you will find reactions, comments and messages in response to the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, effective from 28 February 2013 at 20:00 hours (Rome time).

On Wednesday, 20 March 2013, Pope Francis received several representatives of the various Christian Churches and other world religions who attended the Pope’s inauguration.

The Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, the Right Reverend Monsignor Keith Newton, has welcomed the election of our new Holy Father.

The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham said "this is wonderful news for the Church in all parts of the world. It is an imaginative and inspiring choice that now sets the tone and direction for the Church's mission."

Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday in the parish church of Vatican City, dedicated to St Anne, the mother of Our Lady.

'May the love of Christ unite us': Archbishop of Canterbury's statement on the election of Pope Francis.

A statement from the Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Rev Christopher Hill, Chairman of the Council for Christian Unity and a member of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission.

Pope Francis met with professional communicators on Saturday, receiving them in audience in the Paul VI Hall, the lobby of which had been converted into a media centre serving the more than 5,000 thousand journalists accredited with the Press Office of the Holy See during the Papal transition.

Pope Francis met on Friday with the College of Cardinals in the Clementine Hall. It was his first meeting with the full College of Cardinals. On Thursday evening, he celebrated Mass ending the Conclave with the Cardinals under 80 who participated in the election of the Pope.

Pope Francis is an early riser and surprised the Romans on the very first morning of his pontificate by visiting, at 8.15 am, local time, one of Rome's Major Basilicas, Saint Mary Major. The Pope came bearing a floral homage.

The newly-elected Pope Francis celebrated Mass with the College of Cardinals on Thursday, in the Sistine Chapel and preached his first homily.

Archbishop Nichols: "It is a remarkable and very exciting moment. I think it's wonderful that the Church can come up with such a surprise and absolutely hold the world's attention and put somebody there who is really going to bring something fresh to the papacy."

The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, has celebrated a Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving for our new Holy Father, Pope Francis.

Bishop Peter Brignall on behalf of the clergy, religious, and people of the Diocese of Wrexham expresses delight and joy on the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., taking the name Pope Francis as the 265th Successor of St Peter and Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, and pledges the support, obedience and prayers of the Catholic community of north and mid Wales as the Holy Father takes up his new responsibilities in succession to Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor on the Election of Pope Francis

The Most Revd George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff, has welcomed the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis I and said he can be assured of the prayers of the whole Archdiocese of Cardiff.

The Diocese of East Anglia is delighted to welcome Pope Francis on his election. As part of the Universal Church we have been waiting prayerfully for this moment since the departure of Pope Benedict on 28 February 2013.

The election of Pope Francis is a moment it great joy for the whole Church and, on behalf of everyone in the Bishopric of the Armed Forces, I express support and assurance of prayer for Pope Francis as he takes up the immense responsibilities of the Papacy.

On behalf of all the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Portsmouth, I am absolutely delighted to welcome our new Holy Father, Pope Francis.

Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said: "I express my heartfelt joy shared with our Catholic brethren around the world on the appointment of Pope Francis I. We pray God’s joy and blessing upon our sister Catholic Church as it embraces its new father and shepherd, and we also pray for His Holiness as he commences this sacred ministry, strengthened and overshadowed by the grace of God."

Bishop Michael Campbell, who is currently in Rome, has expressed, on behalf of the faithful of the Diocese of Lancaster, great joy and delight at the election of Pope Francis I and pledges the love and prayers of the Catholic community of Lancashire and Cumbria as the new Holy Father assumes the responsibilities of the Successor of St. Peter.

Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See's Press Office, revealed the date of the Mass for Inauguration of Petrine Ministry of Francis in an impromptu press briefing. It will take place on Tuesday, 19 March at 8.30am (UK time).

Let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust...

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, who is in Rome having contributed to the General Congregation sessions prior to Conclave, has sent a short video message with his reflections on the first two days of voting.

On behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, I wish to express my great joy at the news of the election of Cardinal Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J. as the 265th Successor of St Peter and Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church.

At 18:06, UK time, with all eyes in St Peter's Square and around the world on the temporary smokestack poking out of the roof of the Sistine Chapel, white smoke poured forth heralding the news that the cardinals had chosen the 266th Pope.

It has been announced to the world that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., has been elected Pope Francis.

There was no doubt about the colour of the smoke that billowed out of the smokestack above the Sistine Chapel - it was black. This signaled that Cardinals meeting in day one of their conclave were unsuccessful in electing a new pope.

At 10:40am, UK time, black smoke once again billowed out of the smokestack above the Sistine Chapel.

Nearly 1,000 years ago, in 1154, a man named Nicholas Breakspear was elected the first - and thus far only - English pope.

At the start of the conclave Tuesday in the Sistine Chapel, the senior Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re read aloud the following formula of the oath prescribed by the apostolic constitution Universi Dominici Gregis.

“I am a pilgrim who is beginning the last part of his pilgrimage on earth”. This was how Benedict XVI brought to an end the long goodbye that has accompanied the final weeks of his Pontificate.

As of 8pm Rome Time, 7pm UK time, on Thursday, 28 February 2013, the See of Rome is vacant.

As of Tuesday morning, 5 March, 110 cardinal electors are present in Rome.

The fourth general congregation got underway Wednesday morning at 9.30am (Rome time) with 153 Cardinals present.

The very first issue on Fr Federico Lombardi's agenda for his daily press briefing on Thursday, 7 March, was to reiterate once again that no date has yet been set for Conclave.

The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals meeting in the Vatican Synod Hall Friday has decided that the Conclave for the election of the Pope will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013.

With the conclave to elect the successor of Benedict XVI due to commence next Tuesday, 12 March, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor invites the Catholic community of England and Wales to pray for the Cardinal Electors.

On Sunday 10 March, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor visited the priests in training at the Beda and English Colleges - the seminaries in Rome training priests for the dioceses of England and Wales.

The Missa pro eligendo romano pontifice, the Mass for the election of a Roman Pontiff, was concelebrated by members of the College of Cardinals under the presidency of their Dean, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has written to Pope Benedict XVI on behalf of the Bishops to thank him for his Apostolic Ministry as Supreme Pontiff.

The final Lenten message of Pope Benedict XVI's pontificate meditates on the relationship between faith and charity.

Following the news that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, will resign on 28 February 2013 Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor gave this morning's 'Thought for the Day' on BBC Radio 4.

In his first Sunday reflection of Lent after praying the Angelus with the faithful, Pope Benedict concluded with a special message for English-speaking pilgrims.

The Most Rev Vincent Nichols has offered prayers and thanks for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI at a special Mass for the Holy Father at Westminster Cathedral on Sunday 24 February 2013.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, on hearing the news of the Pope's resignation from the Petrine ministry, expressed his nearness, and that of all the cardinals, to Pope Benedict XVI.

Just three days before his resignation comes into effect, Pope Benedict XVI has issued a Motu Proprio 'Normas nonnullas' making changes to the norms governing the period of the Vacant See and papal election.

The end of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate, at 8pm (7pm UK time), Thursday 28 February, will be marked by the stepping down of the Pontifical Swiss Guard from the gates to the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo.

The Secretary General of the Hindu Council UK has written to the Bishops' Conference to offer "sincere prayers and good wishes" to Pope Benedict ahead of his retirement.

His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor spoke to the assembled media today about the process of electing a new Pope for the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI held the final General Audience of his pontificate on Wednesday 27 February 2013 in St Peter's Square.

Statement issued by the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, on the announcement of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

In the last days of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI has written to Archbishop Vincent Nichols promising to pray for the Catholic faithful of England and Wales.

Here is the full text of a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s words to the College of Cardinals Thursday morning, 28 February.

Statement from Bishop Philip Egan, Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth on Pope Benedict XVI's Decision to Resign.

"Among you, among the College of Cardinals, there is also the future Pope, to whom, here today, I already promise my unconditional reverence and obedience." Those were Pope Benedict’s words on Thursday morning to his closest advisors.

Statement issued by the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, on the announcement of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi SJ, reveals the details of this morning’s historic encounter between Pope Francis and Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus.

Pope Benedict XVI on Monday, 11 February, said he plans on resigning the papal office on 28 February 2013.

A statement on the news that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, will resign on 28 February 2013 by the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Statement from the Most Revd George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.