After Pope Benedict XVI delivered a resignation speech Monday citing health concerns as the reason he is stepping down, one local religious leader said this could set a precedent for the church.
Father Charles Papa, a Pastor at St. Louis De Montfort Roman Catholic Church in Sound Beach for 12 years, said he was surprised by the news.
"I was actually very happy to hear that the man who is a Priest and now a supreme leader was really probably doing the right thing," he said. "He recognized his own humanity and his advancing years."
Father Charlie, as he is known in the church community, hopes this may set a precedent in the universal church.
"Maybe some other aging cardinals or bishops may take notice of this precedent that there is a time you should hang up your spurs for the good of the rest of the church," he said.
Pope Benedict, who is 85 years old, is the first Pope in close to 600 years to step down. According to the Associated Press, in his resignation address, which he delivered in Latin during a meeting of cardinals at the Vatican, Pope Benedict said: "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."
There was also, of course, wonderment about who would succeed him, and Father Charlie believes that the Holy Spirit will guide the church in the right direction.
"There’s a great growth in the Catcholic church in the African nations and Latin American countries, I’m wondering when if the cardinals meet in conclave...if some of their thought may go to leaders where the church is seeing their greatest current growth."
Pope Benedict will formally step down Feb. 28. His successor will be elected at a conclave of cardinals by the end of March.
Via Miller Place-Rocky Point Patch's Facebook page, Long Island Neighborhood Crime Stoppers said, "He says he's not strong enough anymore...so it's a great decision..saying his role requires "both strength of mind and body."
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