Philadelphia Catholics reacted to Pope Benedict XVI's Monday morning announcement of retirement. Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said the pontiff is owed "a tremendous debt of gratitude" by the world's Catholics.

"From his work as a young theologian at Vatican II to his ministry as universal pastor of the Church, Joseph Ratzinger has served God and the global Christian community with intelligence, eloquence and extraordinary self-sacrifice," said Chaput.

"As Pope Benedict XVI, he has led God's people through complicated times with uncommon grace, and his stepping down now, at 85, from the burdens of his office is another sign of his placing the needs of the Church above his own."