Duluth Priest 'Shocked' by Pope's Resignation
Posted at: 02/11/2013 10:04 PM
| Updated at: 02/11/2013 11:52 PM
By: Alan Hoglund
"I heard it and I just couldn't believe it. I mean the world is completely dumbfounded by what's happening," said Father Richard Kunst of St. John's Catholic Church in Duluth.
"This is a historic day in world Catholicism," Father William C. Graham, a College of St. Scholastica professor, said.
The two Duluth priests were reacting the history-making decision made by Pope Benedict XVI to step down. The Monday morning announcement isn't something the Catholic community has seen for 600 years.
Pope Benedict said he came to the decision after repeatedly examining his conscience before God. He said the duties of being Pope require "strength of mind and body" but said he isn't strong enough anymore.
The Pope's big announcement came and the end of a meeting with Cardinals at the Vatican, and it was in Latin.
Cardinal Francis George, of the Archdiocese of Chicago, said he saw the Pope on Thursday. He said "there was not the slightest indication in my mind that this was a man that was about to resign."
Meanwhile, Father Graham called the Pope's decision a wise one. "He was 78 years old when he was elected to it. Who wants to assume a new job at that late age?"
Now 85 years old, Pope Benedict cites his ailing health as his reason for resigning. That decision, Father Kunst said, could impact resignation decisions for the popes in the future. "It could set a precedent for someone who truly becomes incapacitated they'd be more apt then to resign."
So what comes next?
Father Graham said "we pray for someone who will lead the Church whose virtues will be pleasing to God and who will lead the Church with care."
That person is expected to be chosen in the middle of March, following Pope Benedict's official resignation on February 28.