Pope Resignation 'Startling' to Kinnelon Priest
New leadership could provide 'a whole new outlook on things,' another local priest said.
As the Vatican announced Monday Pope Benedict XVI will be resigning from his leadership position on Feb. 28, local religious leaders expressed their shock at the announcement, appreciation for the man's work and thoughts on the future.
"It's a surprise. I think it took everybody off-guard," the Rev. Richard Husted of St. Mary's Church in Pompton Lakes said.
St. Mary's Church, which is home to parishioners from the tri-boro as well, will not be significantly affected by the resignation. Parishioners simply need to know who to pray for.
"It's hard to say that it would have much of an effect except we pray for [the pope] every time we gather for mass," Husted said.
"It's quite historical in that this hasn't happened in approximately 600 years, so it's startling," he said. "I didn't foresee it coming, although he appears to have gotten a little more feeble and less surefooted."
Carroll said Benedict has a brother in Germany and that even recently his brother has said that Benedict was beginning to feel the effects of age.
"Eighty five is a pretty good age for anybody that's still working full time," Carroll said.
But since it has been so long, about six centuries according to the New York Times, since a pope has actually resigned from their post as opposed to a new pope taking over the leadership when the previous pope passes away, Carroll said he is unsure what Benedict will do next.
"What happens to a former pope? Nobody really knows," he said.
Local Catholic school leaders were also stunned by the resignation. The Rev. Mike Donovan, president of DePaul Catholic High School, said that even as previous popes had considered retiring due to their health, it had not happened in the past and was not expected now.
So what happens next? Carroll said cardinals who are under the age of 80 will be eligible to vote for their new leader. He estimated that a new pope could be in place by March. Some say a new, younger leader could provide new insight to the billions of Catholics around the world.
"It's going to provide a whole new outlook, I think, on things," Husted said. "I'd like to be a fly on the wall in the Vatican right now."
Carroll said who the actual person is will not have a tremendous impact on the local church, but it will have an impact on Catholicism globally.
"Our jobs just continue on," he said.
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