He was the first pope to send a tweet and now he is also going to be known as the first pope to retire in almost 600 years. Pope Benedict XVI resigned Monday morning. He will stay in his position until February 28th.
The Diocese of Harrisburg held a press conference Monday, Bishop Joseph P. McFadden spoke in reaction to the news.
“While the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation initially draws forth a sense of sadness for Catholics throughout the Diocese of Harrisburg, this is not to the exclusion of profound gratitude for all that he has done and continues to do for the Church. From the very beginning of his Pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI has been committed to calling all men and women in the world to an authentic encounter with the Living Lord, Jesus Christ. Through his preaching and his teaching, particularly in the three volumes of Jesus of Nazareth, the Holy Father has never tired of proclaiming the true face of Jesus Christ. And so, our hearts are grateful for his unwavering commitment to the Gospel. That this comes during this Year of Faith, which Pope Benedict called the Church to celebrate, we can see his decision as a sign of his own deep faith that the Church is cared for by Christ himself. His humble decision invites every Catholic to have the same faith that Christ will continue to watch over us by sending a new faithful and holy Shepherd to guide the Church as its Pope and to care for God’s People on our pilgrim journey here on earth,” said McFadden.
Much of the community is surprised over the news but supportive. “I have never in my lifetime have actually, I am actually shocked that the pope is going to resign,” said Lillian Lauscell-Rodriguez. “I just hope that it will be perhaps a younger pope that will really hang in there and just oversee this vast amount of people who are leaning on his wise decisions.”
“I was surprised,” said Kathy Barnes of York. “I think he’s been looking frail lately, if he has health problems, you know that’s important. We just need to pray for a good pope.”
A new pope could be elected at the end of March by Easter.