Pope Benedict’s surprise announcement Monday morning that he would resign Feb. 28 has prompted curiosity, concern, and gratitude from some East Greenwich Catholics.
“I think the Pope showed great strengh of character,” Susan McManus wrote on EG Patch’s Facebook page, “a very selfless act.”
Another EG Catholic, Michelle Brodeur, said her response was a mix of “a little fear and plenty of curiousity!” She said she was “shocked” when she heard the news that the leader of the world’s more than 1 billion Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI, would step down due to a decline in health. Benedict is 85 years old.
“Catholics believe that the Pope is chosen by God to carry out His work here on earth. It is not a post that a worker can retire from. The pope always dies in service,” said Brodeur.
"There's a provision that states that if the Pope does not feel as though he is able to perform the task as the Pope he then may step down," commented Lynn Krim on Facebook. "Usually his reign runs until his death, but the provision does exist."
“I think the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, is a man of great faith, great wisdom, and apparently, great humility,” said Our Lady of Mercy pastor Fr. Bernard Healey in an interview Monday morning. “He realizes that perhaps it’s time for him to step aside and to do what’s best not only for himself, but perhaps more importantly, for the church as a whole.”
So far, Healey said, he hadn't heard much from his parishioners, except from those who attended morning Mass.
"I think everyone's just getting the news this morning and just trying to process it," he said, adding, "We are called to be faithful not fearful."
What do you think about the Pope's decision?