Pope Benedict To Resign At The End Of The Month - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Pope Benedict To Resign At The End Of The Month

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SPOKANE, Wash. – Early Monday, Pope Benedict XVI announced his decision to resign during a small meeting of Vatican Cardinals.

Benedict is the first pope in modern history to step down. In fact, this is the first time a Pope has resigned in 600 years. The news was unexpected for many Catholics around the world, as well as, for churches here in Spokane.

"Pope Benedict indicated that he has grown weak under the burden of years and has determined that before God it would be better for the church if he would step down," said Father Darrin Connall at Cathedral Of Our Lady Of Lourdes Monday during mass.

Benedict is a leader to more than one billion Catholics worldwide and it is clear he will be missed.

"My initial reaction was of great sadness because he is a great Pope and he has been internationally recognized as the greatest mind of the century," said Mass attendee Terry Lundrigan.

Lundrigan was not the only one in attendance who felt sad when hearing the news.

"Yeah sad, because he is such a great leader, but I'm also hopeful that the next one coming up will have more energy if that was hard for him," Lisa Shortell said.

Cathedral Of Our Lady Of Lourdes in downtown Spokane, displayed Pope Benedict's picture during Mass and took a moment to pray for his health.

Father Connall said the Pope's decision to resign is already impacting services.

"I noticed that mass attendance at the noon service was a little more than usual," Father Connall said. "I think it is on people's minds and hearts."

He also says it is somewhat telling that the Pope would choose today for his announcement. February 11th is world day of prayer for the sick. It is a day when Catholics take time to pray and care for those who are sick in a special way.

"It is very interesting that the holy father chose this day to tell us that he is sick," Father Connall said. "He has grown weak under the burden of years and needs to set down the office of St. Peter."

The Cardinals will meet to choose a new Pope some time after Benedict resigns on February 28th. Benedict will not be involved in the decision.

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