Frail pope did right thing by resigning, says Swindon Canon

Frail pope did right thing by resigning,       says Canon

Canon John Cunningham, parish priest of Holy Rood Church

‘brave’ Pope Benedict XVI arriving for an open air Mass at Cofton Park, Birmingham in 2010.

First published in News
Last updated

THE Rev Canon John Cunningham has spoken of his surprise after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on Monday.

Canon Cunningham took over as parish priest at Holy Rood Catholic Church in Groundwell Road after the retirement of one of Swindon’s longest-serving community bastions, Monsignor Canon Richard Twomey.

Canon Cunningham, a former banker, said he thought the Pope’s decision was purely down to health reasons and said that he had made a brave decision to step down.

He said: “It is very surprising news.

“No pope has resigned from their post in nearly 600 years and I think it is a courageous thing to do, and it is the right thing to do.

“We can see how frail he has been and I do not believe there is any other reason behind it other than poor health.

“I went to Rome last year and it appears his health has deteriorated further.

“Over that 600 year period popes have died in office, the Church has had to move on and has elected a successor.

“It will be exactly the same thing now and we have to pray that the cardinals can elect a rightful successor.

“He had a hard act to follow Pope John Paul II but I think he did very well.”

Related links

Pope Benedict, when elected at 78, was one of the oldest new pontiffs in history.

The now 85-year-old’s last public appearance should be his final general audience in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican City, the papal enclave within Rome, on February 27.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree