Pope resignation: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor reacts
11 February 2013 Last updated at 16:05 GMT
Pope Benedict XVI has been "brave" in announcing his resignation, according to the former leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor told the BBC he was shocked but not surprised by the 85-year-old's decision.
He said many cardinals had thought in 2005 that Cardinal Ratzinger would not become Pope because of his age, but they had come to "a kind of consensus that this man with the huge experience, great intellect spirituality was the right man."