Updated (6 p.m. Monday). It's not often someone does something that no one has done in more than 700 years.
So Pope Benedict's resignation announcement Monday took folks in Fridley, as almost everywhere else, by surprise.
At Totino-Grace, the Catholic high school in Fridley, spokesperson Kelly Refsnider said students and staff heard the news the same ways everyone else did. Partly because of the timing of the announcement, she said, there was no other formal communication about it at school Monday. However, she said "the pope and the people who will select the next pope will all be in our prayers."
WCCO-TV interviewed Totino-Grace students about the pope's decision Monday, Refsnider said, for a report on its 5 p.m. news broadcast. (The Totino-Grace portion is from the 1:30 to 2:00 marks.) The students described their shock at the news, said it was responsible of him to resign when he couldn't fulfill his duties, and praised his presence on Twitter.
At the Church of St. William, there are no masses on Mondays and it was Pastor Joseph Whalen's day off. But other people around Fridley were talking about the pope's announcement Monday.
"To quote a good friend of mine, 'The Pope quit. I guess it's not a divine calling after all, more a choice or lifestyle.'"
I was flabergasted. I though nothing could seperate him only death. Another illusion of permancey lost.
Others, on Twitter ...
unexpected but not too surprising given #Pope age. I wondered abt his age (78?) when he was appointed.
... and back at the Fridley Patch Facebook page:
You know the world is in trouble when the pope doesn't even want the job.
How did the news of the pope's resignation hit you? Leave a comment below.
“I was completely surprised to learn of today’s announcement by the Holy Father that he plans to resign,” the Most Rev. John Nienstedt, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, said in a statement on the archdiocese website. “I am saddened by the thought of losing his strong leadership for the church.”
Nienstedt noted that he and other U.S. bishops met with Benedict last March, and that the pope was fully informed about what was happening at the local level: “His pastoral reflections about each of our dioceses—and this local Church in particular—were insightful as well as inspirational.”
Attorney Sees 'Consequence'
Jeff Anderson, the St. Paul attorney who has represented clients alleging sex abuse by Catholic clergy and sued the Vatican, said, "It's kind of an affirmation of the courage of the survivors." He said he didn't draw a straight line from the scandal to the pope's resignation, "but the heat they felt in part contributed to the fatigue. ... There is consequence."
Here is the pope's announcement, translated into English:
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.