Posted at: 02/11/2013 6:43 PM
By: Katie Eldred
Local Reaction to Pope Benedict's Resignation
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It's been nearly 600 years since the last time a Pope resigned. Monday, Pope Benedict XVI, announced he'll be stepping down as the head of the Roman Catholic Church due to health reasons. Pope Benedict's officials last day is February 28th We sat down with Bishop John Quinn today, as well as other Catholics, to get their reactions.
When he became Pope at age 78, Benedict XVI was already the oldest Pontiff in nearly 300 years. He's now 85. Still, his Monday morning announcement in Latin, that he will be resigning, shocked the Catholic community.
"I knew he was talking about his health but I didn't realize that he was thinking of resigning," said Mike Goldsmith.
Goldsmith is the owner of the Gifts of Faith Catholic Store in Rochester. He says he has lots of respect for Pope Benedict and everything he has done for the church.
"He's been a great pope taking over for Pope John Paul."
"I could see in him a holiness," said Bishop John Quinn.
Bishop Quinn, who oversees the Diocese of Winona, has met Pope Benedict twice. He says both times he was amazed by his presence.
"I was very touched by his warmth his graciousness to us his ability to listen," said Bishop Quinn.
Pope Benedict cited his decline in strength and health as his reasons for his resignation, Bishop Quinn believes added stress of the job may have also been a contributor. The cardinals will now start the job of choosing the next Pope. And there are already rumors he could come from a non-European country for the first time ever.
"It's a very strong possibility," says Bishop Quinn. "It would be up to the Cardinals to determine the qualities of who would be able to lead the church and that could be from anywhere in the world."
Bishop Quinn says there will be lots of prayer in the coming weeks. That includes Mike Goldsmith.
"I'll be praying to the holy spirit that we get another leader and take the church into the 21st century," said Goldsmith.
Pope Benedict will officially step down on February 28th. A Vatican spokesperson said the process to elect a new Pope would move quickly because the Vatican doesn't have to wait until after the elaborate funeral services that usually take place prior to the selection of a new Pontiff. The spokesperson says a new Pope could be elected as soon as March 24th, which also happens to be Palm Sunday.