PORTLAND -- Both the outgoing and new Archdiocese of Portland archbishops had high praise for Pope Benedict XVI, who announced his resignation Monday.
The 85-year-old Pontiff feared that he was too frail to continue in the job. His last day will be Feb.28 and a successor will be picked in March.
Both retiring Archbishop John Vlazny and his successor Alexander Sample praised what they described as the humbleness of the pontiff in making the surprise announcement from the Vatican.
"The demands of his office have changed greatly during his lifetime," Vlazny said. " I must say that I admire him all the more for acknowledging with humility and trust in divine providence the need he has felt for a change in the leadership of our worldwide Catholic family."
Sample said he had noticed while watching the Pope recently on television that he sensed "a growing weakness evident in the Holy Father." The personable Sample compared the Pope's acuity to his own 84-year-old mother and "I can understand where it gets to the point where it's too much for you."
"I think it's a very humble thing the Holy Father has done," Sample told KGW.
Father John McGrann of St. Mary's Cathedral also praised the Pope's handling of his resignation.
"I think it's a sign of humility on his part," he said. "And I sometimes think we need to step aside, step down, and let others who might be more healthy take over."