Paderborn (dpa / lnw) - Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker of Paderborn has asked Pope Francis to be released from his duties as archbishop. The bishop announced this on Friday morning in Paderborn. It's time to hand the job over to younger hands. Becker turned 75 on Wednesday. "I feel that the time has come for a responsible handover of my office," it said in a written statement.
Pope Francis has to decide on Archbishop Becker's request for retirement. Becker can only retire as Archbishop if the Pope accepts the request.
Becker is the 66th bishop and the fourth archbishop of Paderborn. He was installed in office in 2003 as the successor to Archbishop Johannes Joachim Cardinal Degenhardt, who died in 2002.
More than 1.4 million Catholics live in the Archdiocese of Paderborn. Geographically, the Archdiocese of Paderborn covers an area of around 15,000 square kilometers - from Minden in the north to Siegen in the south and from Höxter in the east to Herne in the western Ruhr area.
In addition to the areas in Westphalia, parts of the Waldeck-Frankenberg district (Hesse) and the town of Bad Pyrmont (Lower Saxony) also belong to the Archdiocese of Paderborn.