On Monday morning, the world woke to the news that Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation from the Papacy, effective Feb. 28, 2013.
"My strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry," he stated. It was the first resignation since Pope Gregory XII stepped down in 1415, nearly 600 years ago.
Pope Benedict celebrated his final public Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on Ash Wednesday. The Mass ended with a rousing standing ovation, according to multiple news outlets.
Carroll Gardens Patch blogger Laura Eng was able to gather some local reactions to the Pope’s announcement, now that the world has had a couple of days to let the news sink in:
“I couldn't believe hearing the news of Pope Benedict's resignation. If his health is failing, it is a very selfless decision to give up that power. He believes he couldn't be a hands-on Pope and so, he is thinking of the people he serves. I know there is a lot of controversy out there, but I have chosen to believe it is about the Pope being selfless and it is not a political strategy. I will pray for the best decision to be made by the cardinals in finding a replacement. I will especially pray for Pope Benedict to live peacefully, prayerfully and pain free until God calls His servant home.” — Louise Manus, lifelong Sacred Heart-St. Stephen's (SHSS) parishioner
“It’s certainly an opportunity for the Catholic Church to step into the 21st Century. I would like to see a Latin American pope. The Europeans have been holding the reins for a long time.” — Lisa Rhoades, Bushwick resident who works in Carroll Gardens
“I’m fairly certain [Pope Benedict] is doing it for the genuine good of the church.” — Christian Kauffmann, SHSS Parishioner
“Upon hearing of the news that the Holy Father was stepping down from the seat of Peter, my first reaction was shock. This is the first time in 600 years that this has happened. I immediately began to ask myself if I could ever be so humble as to step aside for any job because I thought someone else would be more capable of doing it. Based on conversations that I have had with friends who have had the pleasure of meeting personally with the Pope in the last year, his age is upon him. I do believe that the slowing down of his body, mind and the desire as an old professor to live out the rest of his days in prayer and quiet reflection are the true reason for his resignation. Knowing that there was concern about his age upon his election as pope, Benedict XVI said he would do just this if he felt it was necessary. I believe this is something that is hard to believe especially for those lacking faith, and most believe there must be a scandal. How many of us would give up such a position, or even be able to admit that time and age have affected our abilities? However, the Pope, a teacher his whole life, is teaching us a great lesson of humility as he ages with grace and does not allow his ego to make this decision, but does it with a love for what is best for the Catholic Church .” — John Heyer, II, SHSS parishioner and proprietor of Scotto Funeral Home
“I think there’s more to the Pope’s decision than age or health issues. I recently saw an HBO documentary called Mea Maxima Culpa, Silence in the House of God and I feel Pope Benedict was aware of abuse in the Catholic Church.” — Maria Salimeni, lifelong SHSS parishioner and proprietor of Frank’s Place
“I admire Pope Benedict’s decision to acknowledge his limitations in not being able to keep up with the duties of being the Papal leader. I think he’s done a great job.” — Michele Ruggiero-Sheehan, lifelong SHSS parishioner