Citing poor health, Pope Benedict XVI announced he will resign, effective Feb. 28. He will be the first pope in 600 years to do so, stunning many in the local Catholic community.
“I was surprised to hear the news of Pope Benedict’s resignation. However, it is a sign of his great humility and courage to acknowledge that his health will prevent him from exercising his great responsibility, as the successor of St. Peter, as it needs to be exercised in our world today," Friar Joe Davanzo of Christ the King church in Commack, said.
Vatican officials said they are aiming to have a new pope in place by Easter.
"No matter who holds the office of Supreme Pontiff, the mission of the Catholic Church and of her clergy and laity, whether at the Vatican or in the local parishes, always remains proclaiming the truth of the Gospel of Christ and maintaining fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church,” Davanzo said.
Were you surprised by the pope's announcement? What type of pope would you like to see take over the Catholic Church? A fervent believer who goes by the book? A more moderate leader who can reach a broader audience? Tell us in the comments section below.