EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSTHE POPE'S DECISION
from Eyewitness News Online
Charleston Monsignor Reacts To Benedict Resigning As Pontiff
Reported by: Kennie Bass
Videographer: John Tincher
Web Producer: Kennie Bass
Reported: Feb. 11, 2013 6:43 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 12, 2013 8:57 AM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Pope Benedict XVI dropped a bombshell during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, declaring that he is resigning at the end of the month because he lacks the strength to do his job.
The 85-year old will become the first pontiff to step down in 600 years. The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism, a dispute among competing papal claimants.
"But when you think about it it's neither surprising nor shocking," Monsignor Edward Sadie of Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral said. "Pope Benedict is very much a realist and I think he's a tremendous educator. And I think this is a moment for education. I think he's teaching us a lot by resigning."
When he was elected pope in 2005, the 78-year old Benedict was the oldest pontiff chosen in nearly three centuries. In 2010 he said he would step down if age didn't allow him to fulfill his duties.
The pope is the spiritual leader of the Catholic church, with 1-point-2 billion members. Monsignor Sadie says Benedict is using his decision to impart a valuable lesson.
"The church does not depend on the visible head of the church here on earth," Sadie said. "It depends upon the invisible head of the church who is Jesus Christ. He knows that the church will continue to teach the truth regardless of who is the pope."
Church observers say there are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner. That's the same situation when Benedict was elected pontiff in after the death of Pope John Paul II.
"There's been a lot of discussion the last few months on the successor to Benedict," Sadie said. "There are Africans, Asians, Latin Americans who are strongly "papabile" we call them, possible candidates, possible nominees to be the next pope. So it's an exciting time for the church."
Pope Benedict's decision sets the stage for a mid-March conclave of Vatican cardinals to elect a new leader of the catholic church.
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