Farmington residents commenting on Facebook welcomed the news Monday that Pope Benedict XVI would resign his ministry on Feb. 28.
It was not so much that they were glad to see him go, as they agreed with Benedict that the demands of the role were too much for someone of his advanced age.
“…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 said in announcing his decision today in the Vatican City.
The decision makes Benedict the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, according to the AP report.
Dave Smith called the news a positive turn of events.
“Very surprised that he realized his capacities were becoming diminished. It's time to get someone stronger and younger in so they can plot some long-term thinking on the many challenges facing the Catholic Church,” Smith said.
April Mock and others seem to agree, “We can only hope for someone younger and more open to change,” she said.
On Twitter, where Benedict gained quite a following, Farmington High School student Amanda Marino indicated she appreciated the Pope reaching out through the medium of this generation.
“The new pope better get a Twitter, gonna miss Benny's inspirational words,” she tweeted.
Looking to who might take over the position, Brian Gallagher said, “Archbishop Marc Ouellet from Canada is 60 and well respected. Most of the others are 70+.”
Alexandra Singer agreed that Cardinal Marc Ouellet, 68 might be a good choice.
“I am surprised but think it is a very smart move. The Church needs a younger Pontiff. I am open to Ouellett,” she said.
Archbishop of Hartford Henry J. Mansell said in a media release that the Pope's pending resignation should not discourage the Catholic community.
"We voice our sentiments of gratitude, appreciation, respect, esteem and admiration for Pope Benedict XVI and his significant leadership as Pope since April 19, 2005," Mansell said in the statement. "We have all been amazed at the very demanding schedule that he has kept over these years, from early morning to late at night. In his trips around the world, we were particularly impressed by his countless celebrations of Masses and other ceremonies; we heard the major speeches his gave; and we participated in the meetings he held with world leaders and people of every neighborhood."
Mansell said that the news should instead encourage unity, urging Catholics worldwide to "pray for Pope Benedict XVI as he prepares for his resignation at the end of the month, and to ask our loving God to guide those electing a new Pope with strength, love and wisdom in their deliberations."
The Vatican could hold a conclave to elect a new pope by mid-March, according to the AP.
Benedict was named to the office in April of 2005 after the death of the beloved Pope John Paul II, who began his reign as Pope in 1978. John Paul II’s legacy is of fighting communism, improving relations between the Catholic Church and Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Church. He also supported the Second Vatican Council and held the line against contraception and women’s ordination.
What will Benedict’s legacy be and how do you feel about his resignation?