Pope Benedict XVI announced today he's resigning, effective Feb. 28, due to his health.
Age 78 when he was elected pope in 2005, Benedict XVI, born in 1927 as Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, is the 265th pope and served as such for 8 years. The last pope to resign was Gregory XII, in 1415.
"I get asked, periodically, for local input when something 'Catholic' happens, such as the Pope´s resignation," said Rev. Daniel Stack, pastor of Cartersville's St. Francis of the Assisi Catholic Church. "On this one, the only personal thing I would or could add is that I think it is a good thing when anyone is able to honestly assess their abilities and to allow others to do what they are no longer able to do. One of my favorite 'country wisdom' sayings is 'Cain't. Ain't. Won't.' It seems His Holiness recognizes that he 'cain´t.'"
The pope's resignation letter reads in part:
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... 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...
Benedict XVI "brought the tender heart of a pastor, the incisive mind of a scholar and the confidence of a soul united with His God in all he did. His resignation is but another sign of his great care for the Church," the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement.
The College of Cardinals is expected to name a successor by Easter.
"He was a good pope," said Cartersville Patch Facebook fan Michael Morrissey. "The church needs a more modern pope, God evolves with the times so needs the church."
How do you feel about the resignation? Will it impact your life? Tell us in the comments.