Archbishop Patrick Kelly submits resignation to Pope
The Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, who suffered a slight stroke recently, has said he plans to retire.
The archbishop, 74, who was advised he needs a "substantial period of convalescence", has submitted his resignation to the Pope.
He was convalescing in Lancashire but has returned to Liverpool although he is not resuming his duties.
He made the announcement in a letter to the priests of the archdiocese.
Archbishop Kelly's letter said he is making good progress since his stroke last month and thanked priests and other people for their messages of support.
"They have been deeply moving and much appreciated," he said.
He added: "Although the recovery has gone well, I have decided that I must offer to the Holy Father my resignation as Archbishop of Liverpool. It rests with the Holy Father to respond to the request I have put before him."
All Roman Catholic bishops are obliged to tender their resignations to the Pope on their 75th birthday. In some instances the Pope may ask a bishop to remain in office.
The archbishop's illness meant he did not celebrate Midnight Mass in Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral which was broadcast by BBC Radio 4.
His duties are being carried out by Auxiliary Bishop Tom Williams and retired Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Malone.
Earlier last year the Morecambe-born archbishop celebrated 50 years as a priest.
He was appointed Archhishop of Liverpool in 1996, having served previously as Bishop of Salford.
The Archdiocese of Liverpool covers the Liverpool side of Merseyside, the south west of Greater Manchester, West Lancashire and the Isle of Man.