Reactions to pope's resignation mixed in Fay-West region
Citing advanced years and infirmity, Pope Benedict XVI shocked many Roman Catholics across the world Monday when he announced he was resigning on Feb. 28, making him the first pope to do so in almost 600 years.
The last pope to step down was Pope Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415 amidst a serious crisis of leadership that has been known since as the Great Western Schism.
Local Catholics were still absorbing the shock as the news reverberated everywhere.
“I'm shocked because I didn't even realize that a pope could resign,” Ruth May of Greensburg said. “I always thought that once you became pope, you were the pope until you died. I didn't think it was something you could choose not to do.”
Husband Greg May said he too was surprised, but will keep his faith in the decision.
“Obviously this was a huge and very difficult decision for him to make,” Greg May said. “We have to keep our faith in him that he is the only person who knows what is best for himself and the Church under his leadership, then move on from there.”
Pam Mondock of Mt. Pleasant is looking ahead to the new pope's reign, hoping that he will perhaps be more flexible in changing with the times, especially in the matter of divorce.
“I commend him for stepping down if he felt he was no longer able to carry out his duties, and I hope the next pope chosen will be more progressive in his thinking,” Mondock said. “I feel the Catholic Church has lost many members due to the fact they treat divorced people — at least this is my perception of it — as second-class citizens. I see many other denominations reach out to those folks, but not the Catholics. They still believe in annulment. To me, if you've been married and divorced, you bear the battle scars from such, therefore, you should not fill out some forms and make the marriage go away.”
Many others, like Marseda Wisilosky of Connellsville, respect the pope's decision and wish him well.
“I was shocked to hear the news this morning, but I totally respect our Holy Father's decision,” Wisilosky said. “I am sure he has labored and prayed very hard to do what is best for the Catholic Church. He is elderly and if it has become difficult for him to carry out his duties to his flock, then he is a wise man to have made this decision.
“God's richest blessings to him and the Cardinals who will be charged with deciding the next pope for the Catholic Church.”
“At the age of 85 he probably feels it is best for him and whole Catholic world,” Sherry Fleming of Mt. Pleasant said. “I am sure he finds it in his best interest to step away if he doesn't feel well. Maybe we will see our own Pittsburgh Bishop (David) Zubik play a new role! I hope he enjoys his retirement and enjoys many more years. At age 85, I would think you would like to relax and take it easy. I know I would.”
“I'm glad he did. At his age, he should resign,” Donald Ceroni of Mt. Pleasant said. “We need a younger person in who will be there for the longevity.”
Greensburg Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt released a statement on Monday addressing the resignation:
“While I am deeply saddened by the news of Pope Benedict's resignation, I am extremely grateful for his selfless service to the Catholic Church, especially over the past eight years as our Holy Father, the successor of St. Peter. Pope Benedict is a brilliant scholar and a holy priest and bishop. Raised in the midst of the horrors of Nazism and World War II, he has spent his life teaching the Word of God as the response to the evil, godless secularism he saw in Nazism and communism. He has always been focused on the eternal truths of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and has constantly taught us about the dangers to our lives and souls posed by modern relativism and its child, which is secularism.
“I was blessed to meet and talk with Pope Benedict in December 2011 and hear him describe his initiatives in the New Evangelization and the Year of Faith, which he launched last October. These will be lasting gifts to the Catholic Church. We call on the Holy Spirit to guide its Church in the search for a successor, as we prayed nearly eight years ago when Blessed Pope John Paul II left us and Pope Benedict was called to lead us. And we pray that God continues to watch over Pope Benedict as he continues his post-retirement service to the Church.”
The Rev. Bob Lubic, with Connellsville's partner parishes, said he “applauds the bravery shown by His Holy Father in what can only be a difficult and sad time for him.”
“I believe that history will ultimately applaud Pope Benedict for his courage in taking such a virtually unprecedented step,” Lubic said. “It truly is an act of great humility to renounce such a position of absolute authority in the interest of the greater good.
“Clearly the pope realizes that it isn't ‘all about him.' I pray that the good Lord grants him the health to enjoy his remaining years in the pursuit of academic passions.”
Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Attorneys of Fayette commissioner accused of violating girl’s privacy say mother vowed to alert press
- Fayette foundation director returning to role
- Connellsville police to be fitted with bulletproof vests
- Oglethorpe: Dad worked hard, had a quiet humor
- Defense in Connellsville teen’s fatal shooting wants suspect’s statements to police suppressed
- Fayette County volunteers aim for markers, flags on all veterans’ graves for Memorial Day
- Fayette commissioners clash over jail options
- Connellsville shooting victim identified
- Robbery charges dismissed against Uniontown man