Rockford-area Catholics react to word a pope will resign for the first in six centuries. Diocese of Rockford Bishop David Malloy describes the announcement as shocking. That's because there was no special treatment for the bishops or even the Dioceses. They learned Pope Benedict XVI's decision with everyone else.
"I turned on the radio at 5 o'clock this morning and like everyone else I had this rather shocking news," says Bishop David Malloy.
The announcement left people in Rockford and around the country stunned.
"I was shocked," says Debby Jensen, Catholic Church Parishioner.
"It's really unbelievable because most of them just kinda work through and go till they can't," says Patricia Turner, Catholic Church Parishioner.
"For him to retire like that, for me it's like losing a father," says David Seuss, Catholic Church Parishioner
Bishop Malloy says he has personally met Pope Benedict several times. He noticed recently the pope is looking more and more tired. One Rockford Catholic remembers what the pope said when he began his tenure.
"I thought he'd be here for longer than he was but at the beginning of his papacy he mentioned resignation at that time," says Jensen.
The pope actually made it clear on several occasion he would step down if he became too old or ill to do the job. His failing health was the reason he gave the cardinals for no longer being able to fulfill his role.
Bishop Malloy tells Catholics around the area they should not think of themselves as separate from what is happening in Vatican City especially in the next few weeks as the process starts to select a new pope.
"In all of our parishes, in all of our homes, each one of us as individuals that there be a real spiritual unity with what's going on. That means we pray practically each day about this. Pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance for the choice of the successor," says Bishop Malloy.
The pope's final day will be February 28th. A successor is expect to be chosen by the end of March.
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