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Rochester's Bishop Salvatore Matano weighs in on the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Bishop Salvatore Matano
Diocese of Rochester
Bishop Salvatore Matano

The leader of Rochester’s Catholic Diocese has released a statement after word that Pope Benedict XVI, the first pontiff to step down since the 15th century, died on Saturday in Vatican City at age 95.

AsNPR reports, for several days, Benedict experienced declining health due to his advanced age, according to the Vatican press office.

Bishop Salvatore Matano of the Rochester Diocese said in his statement after Benedict’s death that his passing “causes great sadness in our hearts.” Matano credits the Pope Emeritus for making his decision to resign on February 28, 2013, saying that Benedict “accepted in humility that his age and health did not permit him to fulfill the duties of his office as he would wish.”

In Bishop Matano’s statement, he noted that when he was ordained a bishop in April 2005 in Vermont, that ceremony happened about one hour after it was announced Benedict had been elected pope. Matano said that he spoke of that “memorable occasion” at his first visit with Pope Benedict in September 2005, and the bishop said that Benedict seemed genuinely pleased that both of them shared “such joyous occasions” on the same day.

Bishop Matano will offer a Solemn Mass for the Pope Emeritus on Wednesday, January 4, at 7:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Rochester.

Matano submitted his letter of resignation to Pope Francis in September 2021 in accordance with church law, since he turned 75. But he noted at the time that it is entirely up to the pope regarding how much longer Matano will serve.

Matano was appointed Bishop of the Rochester Catholic Diocese in 2013, replacing Bishop Matthew Clark, who held that post for 33 years before retiring in September 2012.

There has been no recent indication yet about any changes in the works for the Rochester Catholic Diocese leadership.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.