Mr. Speaker, it was with sadness that Roman Catholics across Canada and the world learned that Pope Benedict XVI will step down as Bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church at the end of February.
During his papacy, Canada saw the elevation of the Archbishop of Toronto to Cardinal, as well as the canonization of Brother André and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.
I can recall with emotion while in Rome last spring to witness the elevation of His Eminence, Thomas Collins, a Guelph native, to cardinal, seeing a moment during communion when a mother approached the Holy Father with her child. I was moved as time seemed to stop when he paused and blessed her child before continuing with his duties.
Always mindful of his role as servant of the servants of God, Benedict approached his vocation with great devotion, and it is with deep humility that he acknowledged today that he had reached his physical limit for such an important responsibility.
I join members across the House and Catholics across Canada and the world who thank him and pray for his health and well-being in the coming years.