Throughout his eight-year papacy, Pope Benedict XVI has “carried out a cleansing of the episcopate,” said the apostolic nuncio to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tadjikistan.
“This Pope has removed two or three bishops per month throughout the world because either the accounts in their dioceses were a mess or their discipline was a disaster,” said Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendia during a Feb. 20 address at the University of San Pablo in Madrid.
“The nuncio went to these bishops and said, ‘The Holy Father is asking you for the good of the Church to resign from your post.’”
Nearly all of these bishops, when approached by the Pope’s representative, were aware of the “disaster” and accepted the request to resign, he added.
“There have been two or three instances in which they said no, and so the Pope simply removed them,” he explained. “This is also a message to the bishops: do the same thing in your dioceses.”
The archbishop went on to say that he was “surprised” by the Pope’s decision to resign but said it is an example for the world’s politicians who hold on to power as long as they can.
The Holy Father’s decision is something that “great men have always done,” he noted.
Archbishop Buendia said he was aware that the Pope was wearing himself out and had wondered how he would be able to make the trip to Brazil this summer for World Youth Day, but his decision to resign was unexpected.
Nevertheless, he added, “the life of the Church will continue.”