Pope Benedict XVI announced his upcoming resignation from the Pontiff last Monday, February 11. After much prayer and deliberation, the Pope declared “”Strength of mind and body are necessary…strength, which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.” It is considered a noble decision on his behalf that is anticipated to better his health and the Roman Catholic Church as a whole. Benedict will be leaving the Vatican this Thursday.
Catholics everywhere have been lost for words, including Teresa Smith, the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Orange County. The Orange County Register recorded her statement explaining the matter: “[Benedict] watched John Paul II struggle at the end, and that was his best friend…he wants the church to have a voice of strength.”
Catholics look to the Vatican to provide them with a new leader who will lead them on the right course. “It’s a difficult decision to make for a man of that much respect and responsibility,” senior Marcus Watts said. “It’s his call to determine whether he feels physically, mentally, and spiritually fit to oversee the Catholic Church.”
There are rumors of Cardinals from India, Europe, and South America being considered for the position. However, there are no consistent names being mentioned as candidates.
He is the first Pope to step down in six hundred years. The last Pope to do so was Gregory XII, who stepped down as a result of teeming schisms within the Church. Little did Gregory know that his resignation would only incite further riot. According to the New York Times, It took the Catholic Church two years to calm the division and promote Martin V to the Pontiff.
There is great hope for the Church that will further its success in sharing the Gospel and in keeping its members within the fold.