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Catholics After Benedict XVI: Your Reaction to Pope’s Resignation?

Pontiff, 85, will step down Feb. 28 as bishop of Rome; his name will revert to Joseph Ratzinger.

As reported by The Associated Press, Pope Benedict XVI on Monday announced his resignation at a ceremony to name three new saints.

According to the Association of Religious Data Archives, there are 228,400 Catholics in Contra Costa County. That's an increase of nearly 90,000 people over the past 30 years. 

Comments reacting to the news on Patch facebook sites in CoCo County ranged from the dismissive to the hopeful.

"Thank God," wrote one person in Martinez.

Helene Kremer suggested the resignation was an opportunity: "another chance for the Catholic church to evolve into something better..." 

Mary Hall in Concord wrote that other aging leaders should follow the pontiff's lead: "I think there's a few in Congress that should take the same step!"

Do you have an opinion on the news? Share it with us. 

According to a posting on Poynter.org:

Many news organizations have reported that Pope Gregory XII was the last leader of the Roman Catholic Church to resign, in 1415. However, in this clip NBC Vatican analyst George Weigel says it’s been “717 years” since the last pope abdicated, by which he probably means Celestine V, who resigned 719 years ago, in 1294.

Gregory was not the pope for whom was named the Gregorian calendar (that was Gregory XIII) or Gregorian chant (Gregory the Great or Gregory II, opinions differ). XII resigned so the church could unite under a single pope after a schism. He died in 1417. Here’s some background on papal resignations.

Here is the pope's announcement, translated into English:

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.

Dive Turn Work February 11, 2013 at 05:58 PM
He's 85. Who wants to work at that age? I'd retire, too.
Bryn Thenell February 12, 2013 at 04:09 PM
We will probably never know the full truth of why he's stepping down, but if he's setting a new precedent for leaving when it's time then I say good for him. On the other hand he's the first Pope in over 600 years to do so. Given that as well as how he chose to enforce the "crimen sollicitacionis" before he became Pope during the ongoing child abuse scandal in the church I have to wonder what else might be going on.
AJ Buttacavoli February 14, 2013 at 09:51 AM
President George W. Bush threw a birthday party for Pope Benedict at the White House some years ago. Why? Because no one on the planet has the intelligence the Vatican has and that's why the world's leaders all trek to Rome to pay their respects including the incumbent commander in chief. If people want to know why the Catholic Church has the power it has, all they have to do is think intelligence. But then how many people think at all?
AJ Buttacavoli February 14, 2013 at 09:51 AM
President George W. Bush threw a birthday party for Pope Benedict at the White House some years ago. Why? Because no one on the planet has the intelligence the Vatican has and that's why the world's leaders all trek to Rome to pay their respects including the incumbent commander in chief. If people want to know why the Catholic Church has the power it has, all they have to do is think intelligence. But then how many people think at all?
Robinson Crusoe February 14, 2013 at 04:15 PM
I'm sure everyone will miss pope Ratzinger, especially those children. Intelligence? Are you sure it has nothing to do with the church funding conquest throughout the ages? This is the organization that believes condoms cause the spread of disease.
The Merry One February 14, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Intelligence or lack thereof aside, I hope the Church considers age in its selection this time. This pope was the oldest one selected in recent history. Perhaps a younger, more progressive candidate would be a better choice, one who is in more in touch with its people.
A W Humpherys March 15, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Just finished watching the HBO documentary Mea Maxima Culpa. It is an unarguable fact that the Catholic Church is the church of the father of lies and not the Father of our souls. ". . . by their fruits ye may know them." Pope Ratzinger was the person responsible for disseminating the lies that covered up all of the pedophile activities of the Catholic clergy. So good riddance!!! Somewhere I heard the Catholic Church referred to as The Great and Abominable Church, the Whore of the Earth. That is obviously a very prophetic description of that church. I pity anyone who has ever believed in it and I pray they may find Christ and the way to Him away from Catholicism.

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