Local Catholic Church Leaders Respond To Popes Resignation

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It's something that hasn't happened in the Catholic Church in over 600 years. Pope Benedict XVI is stepping down from his role as leader.

"The word that it was to happen certainly caught many people, Catholics included, by surprise," says Monsignor Peterson of St. Margaret Mary Church in Parkersburg.

A surprise that leaves many wondering why, after no one has done so in over 600 years, would a pope resign?

At 85 years old, Pope Benedict XVI says his health is taking a turn for the worse.

"He was there when Pope John Paul II was in his final days of his pontificate and I think he realized he didn't want to put the church through what it went through with Pope John Paul the II and the fact that he lingered in such poor health. It certainly is an indication that he realizes his office is such that he himself cannot do the work that's part of that office given his age and his health concerns."

The Vatican is hopeful a new pope will be announced by Easter, but in the meantime, local church leaders are asking parishioners to do what they always do.....pray.

"There will be a gathering of the cardinals of our church in Conclave over the next few weeks and in preparation for that I'm praying and I'm asking parishioners to pray to the Holy Spirit that the spirit lead them to select someone who can lead the Catholic Church."

Lead the church as Pope Benedict XVI has in his 8 years as it's leader.

"He has drawn attention to the poor of the world. He has provided that kind of leadership to the people and I think he will be remembered for the work that he did in calling attention to the needs of the people."

Pope Benedict XVI will officially resign on February 28th.

Below is the his entire statement made Monday morning.

"Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both 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. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer. "

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